By Kaikoura Mayor, Winston Gray
Well another year has passed.
Much has been done and there is still plenty of work to do.
Nothing demonstrates this quite as well as the work being done towards the future of Kaikoura’s pool.
In June this year, the council delayed making a decision about the pool until December. Now December is here and the pool will be the main focus of discussion at today’s council meeting.
Regardless of any decisions made, getting to this point has taken nearly two years of hard work and I would like to thank all those involved for their dedication, passion and drive.
The Sport and Recreation Recovery Leadership Team’s work developing feasibility studies and community consultation has been invaluable.
Thanks also to the dozens of other members of the community who have shared insight and knowledge with councillors and council staff.
Community consultation has made it clear what our wants and needs are.
As always, the challenge is balancing what we want with what ratepayers can afford.
Pools nationwide are expensive to build and do not make money once open.
With only 1800 properties across the district, regardless of the option chosen, ratepayers will be asked to foot the bill both now and for years to come.
I hope that today we take the next step together towards an affordable, fit-for-future pool.
A quick look back at some of the highlights of this year shows the speed and scale of the work happening across the district.
The new 120-bed Sudima hotel development is looking set to start building work early in the new year.
It is exciting to see the Paper Plus shop and pharmacy being rebuilt in town. The shopping pop-up mall is well completed and has already made a huge difference to West End.
We’ve begun making progress on the management of our roading network too, with parking along the main street being improved, some of the routes that have been being used by the infrastructure recovery agency NCTIR being remediated, and a comprehensive update expected from Downer (our roading contractor) in the new year.
Work should also be complete this week on our three new Responsible Camping sites.
The sites are; one close to Kekerengu, one on Scarborough Street and one just south of South Bay. Chosen by the Responsible Camping Working Group and endorsed by the council, I hope that the promotion of these sites helps ease the pressure on Kiwa Road.
I also hope that the combination of signs, education material, radio and online advertising help encourage more of our visitors to respect and protect our natural environment.
Find out more about the sites through our website.
NCTIR’s work on State Highway 1 continues, although much of the stop-start works will ease off over Christmas as the workers take a much-needed rest.
We’re told NCTIR will be working in Kaikoura until at least the end of 2019 and I look forward to seeing how its remaining parking, safety and rest-area works shape up.
If the recent work at Ohau Point is anything to go by, these works should be something special.
Visitor numbers are up and I would like to again recognise the efforts of all our hospitality and tourism businesses and support partners to bring people back into Kaikoura.
The I-site, Destination Kaikoura and many of our businesses invest heavily in marketing and I know many will be breathing a little easier with forward bookings continuing to look strong.