It is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of two people this month, my colleague Cr Tony Lloyd, the Waikanae Ward councillor, and Reiner Wenzel. Both deaths were unexpected.
Tony and I were elected on to council four years ago; he had an easy nature, was a devoted family man, and loved living on the Kapiti Coast.
Reiner by contrast was very new to Kapiti, but he too loved it here in Otaki, and was in full flight of setting up his business Entyre in amongst the like-minded clean technology innovators who are drawn to our hub.
His vision for vulcanising tyres was a new science to me when he showed me the machinery being developed; we must ensure that the sustainable environmental principles that he was espousing can carry on.
As for the progress in attracting more businesses to the Otaki incubator and innovation business park, there is now a secured 75% occupancy of the ‘Clean Tech’ building.
Council’s focus is now on tenanting the last unit, which currently has been fitted out for meetings and work space and therefore ready to go. This Hub offers positive benefits for Otaki and the wider District; it is certainly good that Otaki has options to offer growing businesses or those looking to relocate into the district.
The tenants include UCOL which will be running a Level 4 carpentry course (for a cohort of 13 students) and STAR courses (in conjunction with local high schools (automotive and carpentry, for a cohort of 20 students).
Securing a training provider is a real positive for our local youth, and their presence creates opportunities for connecting UCOL specifically to the local business community.
This approach is akin to the model that has been so incredibly successful in Otorohanga, and rolls out the thinking behind our own Youth Pathways to Employment that Council has been facilitating here in Otaki, and a version in Paraparaumu.
A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) meeting is scheduled in early December between UCOL, the Ministry of Education, Council, and the Community to discuss the next steps.
Meanwhile 54 private water leaks were identified in Otaki during the water meter installation contract. The largest known leak in Otaki was 172,000 litres per day – that’s enough to fill the Otaki pool in four days.
Council are analysing the new water meter data to gain a better understanding of use patterns around Otaki and the across the District. There has also been a reduction in wastewater of approximately 5% in Otaki so more good news.
And as a closing comment, can I encourage everyone to think locally when planning your Christmas present shopping over the next month. Buying locally, and organising to have your end of year functions at local venues, supports local businesses owned and operated by locals; that would bring a Merry Christmas to our community for sure.