Kapiti Coast District Council councillor Michael Scott has proposed a radical rethink for the Waikanae town centre upgrade.

He's developed a new strategy which included a land swap with a purpose-built supermarket with underground parking on the large council-owned carpark next to a realigned Marae Lane.

It would enable the current Countdown supermarket site to be opened up for other uses as well as creation of a new single level Waikanae Library next to it.

Council needed to lead the way in the land swap and all the major players especially council, Progressive Enterprises and Manchester Unity needed to work together for the future good of the town centre, he said.


Other commercial players would need to have a role in the process too.

"We need to open up the northern end of Mahara Place.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to have a light, open green space introduced into the town centre, rather than a patch of grass inside an enclosed Mahara Place.

"It will be much cheaper and far more time effective to knock down the old library [a former post office].

"Just imagine a library all on the ground floor, flooded with natural light, with no need for ramps and stairs and expensive lifts to maintain.

"Share community areas for user groups to meet would be part of the new concept, and importantly all within the town centres and other council budgets."

He noted a memorandum of understanding between council and Mahara Gallery to develop the gallery and library jointly expired in June. The gallery had to raise $5.3 million for the gallery component.

So far, council and the Waikanae Community Board had pledged $1.7 million but, as of February 29, the gallery had raised about $933,000.

"I think they're [the gallery] acknowledging now that they're not going to get to where they need to be.

"So we need to think of some different things and a land swap, new supermarket and place for the library is, I think, quite exciting."

Cr Scott expected council chief executive Patrick Dougherty to brief council "to see whether this vision can come into place".

"If it can, and I think you'll probably find it will, it will happen within the budget and within the timeframe.

"There's $1.2 million in the town centre development budget for Waikanae this year [2016/17].

"This is about an $8 million project over the next few years, but we want to do it now, and then they can fix up Paraparaumu as best they can.

"It's big thinking but this will be one that gets over the line I think."

He said council's current proposals were "simply papering over fundamental cracks".

Council's current priorities for the Waikanae town centre upgrade include projects related to turning SH1 into a local road, improving pedestrian crossing from the railway station to Ngaio Rd, and improving access to the Waikanae River via Te Moana Rd/SH1 intersection.