The proposed Kāpiti Gateway centre project has taken a major step forward.
The Government's Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund is giving $2m towards the project.
Kāpiti Coast District Council had applied to the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to pay for half of the estimated $4.6m cost of the centre and associated works.
The application was directed by the Provincial Development Unit to the Infrastructure Reference Unit which led to the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund's tick of approval as it met that criteria instead of the PDF's.
Kāpiti Gateway, located at Maclean Park, Paraparaumu Beach, would comprise a 235sq m single-storey multi-use building that will be accessible to all with a large expansive 450sq m deck for visitor and community use.
Subject to council funding, the project will also deliver improvements to the Tikotu Stream mouth, a new bridge over the stream, landscaping, and interpretative storytelling including carved pou and a waharoa (entrance).
"This type of facility has been talked about by the community for decades and I am delighted that the Government has been able to fund it," Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said.
"Not only will it be a drawcard for visitors to the area, it brings together in one place the story of the coast, including the importance it has in the history of local Māori.
"Kāpiti Island is an ecological marvel and this facility will play a vital role in supporting conservation and biosecurity for the island and elsewhere.
"The Gateway will be a catalyst for new business opportunities in tourism and recreation, creating new jobs, and encouraging new economic activity.
"The project is expected to create more than 27 jobs in the design and build phase and up to 72 in the longer-term.
"There is considerable potential to grow the local tourism industry particularly for domestic tourism across the whole Kāpiti district.
"It has been estimated that the combined impact of current and first-year visitor activity from the Gateway would be $5.91m, rising to up to $16.26m by 2030."
Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan said the $2m injection was "a fantastic result for Kāpiti and is an investment in the future of our district.
"Councillors will now meet to discuss the allocation of the council's $2.23m share, following robust scrutiny of the business case.
"I'd like to thank council staff for helping us to get to this point where we can continue our conversations around the possibility of establishing a Gateway.
"I must stress that no firm decisions have been made."
Councillor and business and jobs portfolio holder Angela Buswell said the funding indicated the Government had "confidence in our district's future and recognises the potential short and long-term benefits this project will bring to the district — social, cultural, environmental and economic.
"This project has been on the table for 28 years.
"It was consulted on during the 2017 Maclean Park Te Ūruhi Development Plan and funding for the Gateway is signalled in the council's 2018-38 Long Term Plan, and set aside in both 2019/20 and 2020/21 Annual Plans.
"While there is a lot more detail to be worked through, we now have a real opportunity to enhance the mana of Kāpiti Island and our district."
"The benefits of this project extend well beyond visitor attraction.
"The Kāpiti Gateway will provide cultural and environmental educational opportunities for our rangatahi and a place for our community, young and old, to sit and enjoy the views out to the island.
"It will significantly enhance the Paraparaumu Beach experience, generating more foot traffic and adding to the vibrancy of the area for years to come."
Council will meet soon to discuss whether or not to progress with the proposed Kāpiti Gateway at this time.