Weekly column by Kāpiti's Greater Wellington Regional Council representative Penny Gaylor.
The future of the Kapiti Coast Airport is a hot topic so it's timely to share the role and position of Greater Wellington Regional Council.
As we've replied to others recently when asked, GWRC appreciates the concern in the Kāpiti community about the future of Kapiti Coast Airport, and the possibility of closure.
GWRC chairman Daran Ponter and myself have discussed the role and function of the airport with Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan, and expressed our support in finding a solution to this challenging situation.
From a regional perspective GWRC acknowledges and shares the concern regarding potential damage to Wellington region infrastructure in event of a large earthquake or other natural disasters.
In our regional leadership role GWRC brings together the nine councils of the region to be ready to respond to and recover from major emergency events such as you describe.
Our work is guided by the jointly developed Wellington Region Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Plan 2019-2024.
In that plan, Kapiti Coast Airport is not included as one of the region's lifeline utilities and lifeline groups.
A core function of GWRC is to co-ordinate regional leadership activities in partnership with other local authorities across the region, on a range of issues and priorities.
This helps achieve co-ordinated planning to underpin integrated decision making across a number of areas — emergency management (as mentioned above), along with economic development, regional growth and transport planning.
Advice from officers indicates that none of these plans, which are also jointly developed, identify or prioritise Kapiti Coast Airport as significant in a regional context.
Inquiries have confirmed that the airport is designated as such in the KCDC District Plan, giving effect to the Regional Policy Statement (RPS) designation as regionally significant infrastructure.
This gives it a high level of protection in terms of other activities needing to demonstrate compatibility with it.
However, that does not rule out other activities altogether, such as housing, which is supported elsewhere in the RPS and other plans.
All that being the case, GWRC acknowledges that the world is changing, and councils like everyone else must adapt.
We'll continue to work with and support our partners — including KCDC and mana whenua — in this regard.
That may include a review of the role and function of Kapiti Coast Airport in the context of the relevant regional plans.