Weekly column by Kāpiti's Greater Wellington Regional Council representative Penny Gaylor.
And 2020 is a wrap. Season Greetings to everyone. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year, and a safe summer break.
Well done everyone for doing our collective best to stay safe from Covid-19.
For my last column, I want to highlight a couple of the many positive things that have happened this year for Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Through a co-ordinated agency approach GWRC put in a bid to Jobs for Nature for the Waikanae River, with the Department of Conservation announcing $8.5 million in funding to create 92 jobs for environmental restoration in the river catchment over a four-year period.
The new funding builds on the Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai (WKUKT) 'mountains to sea' project established in 2019 to restore the river catchment's health. Both initiatives are a partnership of Waikanae mana whenua Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai (ĀKW), GWRC, KCDC and DoC.
The new Jobs for Nature funding will give a four-year boost to the awa's restoration, and is specifically focused on restoration through riparian fencing and planting; animal and plant pest control; sustainable land management — good land use and land management practice; and community engagement, education, and capacity-building.
This year GWRC approved new investment of $1.4m in additional spending on top of our existing budget of wetland restoration in Queen Elizabeth Park on the Kāpiti Coast.
Greater Wellington's Low Carbon Acceleration Fund allocated $1,399,101 to restore 128.5 hectares of peatland and dune forest at QEP and $370,810 to restore 21.8 hectares of pasture land at Kaitoke Regional Park.
This is exciting, it's a huge win for us, and an even bigger win for our environment.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the development of this thinking, shaping how this has been made possible. And now it is action time.
It's great to be on a council of like-minded doers — our officers and my elected colleagues. In my first term on GWRC we signed up to being carbon neutral by 2030 and we signalled a 10 point action plan of how we envisaged that could be achieved for our organisation.
Before the local government elections last year I circulated my campaign newsletter the Kāpiti Guardian to most households across the Kāpiti Coast. I gave a list of five commitments I would be especially focused on: freshwater quality and wetland restoration at Queen Elizabeth Park were both on my list.
I'm grateful that GWRC staff and my fellow councillors share these aspirations — and I know that is what our wider Kapiti Coast community values too.
I reckon those were my Christmas gifts that came early this year, so I'll go straight to taking a break. Merry Christmas, Penny.