The Ōtaki Community Board has supported two significant notices of motion at its November 10 meeting.
The motions were put by Ōtaki Ward Councillor James Cootes.
The first requested that Kāpiti Coast District Council give priority to formulating a local alcohol policy (LAP) for Ōtaki, or for the district. None currently exists. The second was aimed at ensuring the historic Ōtaki Railway Station be retained and restored.
The motion for a local alcohol policy comes after the District Licensing Committee approved an off-licence for Ōtaki. It is being appealed (see separate story), but many in the community have raised the importance of having an LAP, primarily for Ōtaki, but also for the district. They include Te Wānanga o Raukawa, Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki, Ōtaki College, and the Ōtaki Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group.
“We are aware that the subject has been before the council in 2017 and the advice at the time was to not proceed given the risk of potentially costly litigation from opponents and risks associated with being one of the first councils to adopt an LAP,” James’s motion said. “I supported that decision at the time (for the reasons given), however I am aware that several councils have now successfully created LAPs, paving the way for others.”
The notice of motion was: “That the Ōtaki Community Board requests that the council prioritises a local alcohol policy for Ōtaki (or the district), the process of which is to be started immediately at the conclusion of the Beach Bylaw review currently under way, or earlier if resources permit.”
His motion about the railway station noted it had a historical building listing and was part of a Treaty of Waitangi claim. After being declared earthquake prone it has sat empty and its condition has deteriorated.
“The Ōtaki Railway Station and platform are a strategic asset and therefore need to be retained,” James says. “It is also a much cherished, iconic building to our community and there is a strong desire to see it retained and restored to bring a vibrancy back into that area.”
He says it’s also the gateway to Ōtaki for many who enter by rail.
“What welcomes them is a run-down building covered in graffiti that creates a poor first impression.”
Greater Wellington Regional Council is responsible for the platform at the station, which is part of its rail network, and Land Information NZ (Linz) currently manages the building for the Crown.
There have had discussions about the station, but “while all of this plays out the building sits there rotting away”.
The motion says: “That the Ōtaki Community Board and his Worship the Mayor write to Greater Wellington Regional Council requesting it:
supports the retention and restoration of the Ōtaki Railway Station and platform;
acknowledges the strategic asset the Ōtaki Railway Station is to Ōtaki and the Greater Wellington Regional Council, supporting future rail extension and predicted growth.”
It also asked that the board and the mayor write to Linz to “express the importance of retaining the Ōtaki Railway Station as a treasured community icon and asset and note:
the slow decline in the building’s condition despite its heritage status.
the strategic, cultural, economic and community value that the Ōtaki Railway Station holds to the Ōtaki community.
the Government’s recognition that the management of the historic heritage within its care is an important part of its responsibilities and will ensure that historic heritage values are taken into account when decisions are made.
the government’s best practice guidelines for those who have historical buildings in their care:
- respect and acknowledge the importance of the historic heritage in its care;
- foster an appreciation of and pride in the nation’s heritage
- ensure that its historic heritage is cared for and, where appropriate, used for the benefit of all New Zealanders
- ensure consistency of practice between government departments
- set an example to other owners of historic heritage, including local government, public institutions and the private sector
- contribute to the conservation of a full range of places of historic heritage value
- ensure that places of significance to Māori in its care are appropriately managed and conserved in a manner that respects mātauranga Māori and is consistent with the tikanga and kawa of the tangata whenua, and
- contribute to cultural tourism and economic development.
The Ōtaki community supports the principles above and respectfully asks Linz to uphold its obligations under the Historic Places Act 1993, Resource Management Act 1991, Building Act 1991, Reserves Act 1977 and Conservation Act 1987 to maintain and restore the iconic heritage building. Acknowledging the strategic, cultural and community value that the Ōtaki Railway Station holds to our community.”