The Guardians of Kapiti Marine Reserve are seeking community feedback and support for their proposal to establish a Kapiti marine education, research and activity centre at the former Raumati pools buildings.
The Guardians have been working with the newly formed Kapiti Economic Development Agency (KEDA) to develop the concept and investigate funding options for the Kapiti Marine Discovery proposal.
"We believe this site is ideal for a marine centre and would be a great way to retain and utilise the existing building which has been sitting vacant for the past five years," Guardians chairman Ben Knight said.
He said the location directly adjacent to the beach and wider coastal and marine space was perfect for this proposal and would provide many educational, social and economic benefits to the district.
The centre, which would adjoin the Waterfront Bar & Kitchen, would comprise two large aquariums, rock pool/intertidal local marine life touch tank, virtual reality suite, displays, classrooms and theatre, education and research facility, and more.
"With the [Kapiti Coast District Council] Long Term Plan consultation under way at present, we believe this is a good time to be putting this idea on the table and we hope that other community groups, schools, educators and individual members of our local community will make submissions to the LTP in favour of the proposal.
"The draft LTP has any work on the site deferred until 2026-2028 due to the financial constraints that council are operating under.
"We understand this situation and, based on our research to date, think there is a good case for the centre to be developed without any significant financial commitment from council.
"They own the building so will have an important role to play in this project but our proposal doesn't require them to bank roll it.
"The next step in this project is to apply for funding for a feasibility study.
"Funding options and many of the other important details will be fleshed out during the feasibility study stage.
"In our submission to the LTP we will be asking council to work with us to progress this proposal to the feasibility study stage."
KEDA chairwoman Liz Koh said the group was delighted to be providing assistance to the Guardians' marine centre proposal.
"KEDA has been established to support the owners and originators of priority projects, which will accelerate our progress towards a shared vision for Kapiti.
"We are all about getting things done."
The Guardians will be holding a public meeting at the Kapiti Boating Club on Thursday, April 19 at 7pm for those who wish to learn more about the proposal and how they can support it.