Weekly column by Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan.
The smell of the wastewater ponds cooking under the hot Ōtaki sun did not deter the arrival of the politically powerful for the official opening of the Solar Array.
Wednesday last week saw a strong contingent in their red and green political colours.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson with Teresa Ngobi and other Labour candidates.
Associate Finance Minister and also Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, with his Green Party candidate Bernard Long and others.
Mixing it bravely was the lone blue figure of National candidate Tim Costley.
It was a pleasure to be at the opening of this amazing community project developed by Energise Otaki.
The solar project built along the Ōtaki Wastewater Treatment Plant will provide 40 per cent of the plant's power.
Council's purchase of this locally sourced power will generate profits for Energise Otaki to invest in other community power projects to address the affordability of power amongst sections of the Ōtaki communities.
Council has a history, from 2011, of supporting a number of Energise Otaki projects.
Congratulations to Leigh Ramsay and the Energise Otaki group for their commitment.
This latest community project is the first of its kind in the country. It shows small communities can do amazing things when people have the vision, smart ideas, and the commitment to contribute to the common good.
The project had successfully weaved in a range of supporters.
Firstly, through significant funding from the Wellington Trust, other supporters include Electra, Contact Energy and Infratec.
Council's commitment to this project is part a long standing 10-year commitment to reducing our carbon emissions.
This year NZ's leading carbon auditing and Report organisation, Toitu Envirocare, named KCDC its top carbon reducer for 2020.
We reduced our annual carbon footprint by 9598 tonnes, a 77 per cent reduction over a decade.
Also on Wednesday I was privileged to officially open the Summer Breeze Community Art Gallery.
Originally called the Green and White Ribbon Cafe, it has been reinvented by owner Gordie McCalman.
A whole wall of the cafe has been 'donated' into an art space for local artists to showcase their works.
The space has its own volunteer curator, Bayley Luu Tomes.
The owner, Gordie, has an interesting history in building social capital working with activists to highlight the impact of domestic violence and supporting its victims.
It's also worth noting that over the last 15 years, as the quality of our cafes and the coffee they serve has improved, so too has the investment by cafe owners to provide room for local artists to display their works.
It's all part of an interdependent culture.
On Sunday, Claire and I made contact with Kathleen and David Campbell. They own a residential property at Otaki Forks.
Access to their home has been closed off by council following signs of a potential land slip at a site beyond the end of Otaki Gorge Rd called the Blue Bluff.
The route is the gateway to the popular recreational Otaki Forks and, the DoC managed, Tararua Forest Park. It's a regional and national attraction.
Since 2002 the site has had a number of significant landslides with the last one in 2016.
It was originally estimated to cost up to $1 million to remedy.
Following the actual slip the cost was reduced to $500K and with an NZTA subsidy eventually cost council $184K.
Consultants did say that deeper ground conditions meant there was no guarantee there will be no other incidents.
At the moment all traffic access has been blocked off.
During the previous landslide the Campbells were helped by airdrops of food and provisions.
At the moment, the road at the side has a number of widening cracks and is expected to give way.
Council is working on options to provide alternative access. It's not known how long the popular access will be blocked off.
Sadly, it looks like summer holiday events at Otaki Forks and Tararua Park cannot now happen.