$1 Million for New Mining Training Facility on the Coast

Development West Coast is to donate $1 million to the Mines Rescue Trust to build a multi-purpose training facility at its Rapahoe base near Greymouth.

In the wake of the Pike River Mine tragedy, in which 29 men lost their lives, Development West Coast (DWC) allocated funding of $1 million to the Pike River Distribution Fund.

The Fund administers have decided to distribute the $1 million to the Mines Rescue Trust to establish a multi-purpose training facility that will assist the mining industry with their current and future training requirements.

Fund chairman and DWC Trustee, Mark Lockington, says the Trust felt it was important to recognise the severity of the disaster and its impact on families, the community and the local economy.

"DWC believes the training facility will be a real and enduring benefit to the Coast. This is a meaningful way we can assist the mining industry and the local economy," he says.

"It was hoped the Pike River Distribution Fund could be used to stimulate and develop business activity on the West Coast, especially those supporting the mining industry. We saw this training facility as an ideal way to achieve those aims."

New Zealand Mines Rescue Service General Manager Trevor Watts says he is delighted DWC has decided to fund the new facility.

"The training centre will allow us to provide the industry with a state-of-the-art training facility while still maintaining our core capability as a rescue organisation. The more education and knowledge in the industry the more we can raise safety awareness with the ultimate aim of preventing incidents from occurring," he says.

"The new facility will enable Mines Rescue to provide high quality training to the industry in both underground and surface extraction. Our goal is to provide a wider variety of industry training than we already do, from basic induction training to Certificates of Competency for those already in the industry. It is our intention to make the training facilities available to other trainers with specialist expertise in the extractive industries".

Currently Mines Rescue operates a small training facility at Rapahoe including a small underground training tunnel. The new facility will be purpose built with the potential to include a virtual reality training theatre allowing miners to experience real life dangers in a controlled environment. This technology is used extensively in Australia and is an additional tool to enhance industry training.

(13 December 2011)



More Coast Schools get New Computer Equipment

Nine West Coast primary schools will be able to purchase new computer equipment after Development West Coast Trustees approved funding for year two of the Computers in Schools Project.

DWC will fund $79,370 towards computer equipment for the schools. This follows a contribution of $100,000 earlier this year which purchased over one hundred new computers and other ICT equipment for eleven West Coast primary schools.

The Computers in Schools project was designed to increase student engagement and achievement by providing access to 21st century technology. It came about after an audit found 74% of West Coast schools had computers that were four to six years old, compared to the national average of three years.

DWC Chair John Sturgeon says Trustees were keen to continue to support the initiative. "West Coast students should have the same access to technology as other areas. Computers are an important aspect to learning these days and education has a significant impact on economic development."

"While it is too early to make definitive conclusions about the impact on student achievement, indications are that the initiative is making a positive difference to both students and teachers," says Mr Sturgeon.

Cobden School was able to purchase 22 netbooks,6 digital cameras and 2 flip videos in the first year of the project. Principal Noula Kazakos-Tomczyk says the computers are a great way to engage children.

"It's their generation, they are digital natives and they are much more motivated to learn when technology is involved. We wouldn't have been able to purchase the equipment without the help from DWC," she says.

West Coast ICT Facilitator Eric Martini says schools involved in year one of the project have reported that students and teachers are more engaged, enthusiastic and confident using the new technology.

"Teachers are making more use of computers and students are using computers for longer. One benefit of this is students are spending more time on programs like Mathletics which has resulted in increased student learning in at least one school," he says.

One requirement from DWC was that participating schools provide a 20% contribution and completed an ICT investment plan addressing equipment need and ongoing replacement and maintenance funding.

"It is important that schools plan and budget for future upgrades and equipment replacement," says Mr Sturgeon.

The year two funding will be advanced to participating schools during term four to enable schools to purchase the necessary equipment for the beginning of the 2012 school year.

(13 October 2011)



Development West Coast Assets Continue to Grow

Development West Coast has achieved another year of steady returns, continuing to grow the Trust's assets.

The Trust has today released its annual report for the year ended March 2011. DWC ended the financial year with total net assets of $115.92m. This represents an increase of $2.9m from the previous financial years result of $112.99m.

"This was a very strong result in a year of ongoing financial market uncertainty," says DWC CEO John Chang.

Total income of $7.3m together with unrealised gains from investments of $4.1m delivered total consolidated revenue of $11.4m. The total operating expenses for DWC were $2.40m compared to $2.47m the year before.

"This translates to a 17% decline in total operating expenses since 2009. What is even more pleasing is that this was achieved without the loss of any key services or activities that deliver economic benefits to West Coast communities," says Dr Chang.

The Trust made its' largest ever community distribution allocating $5.34m to the region in comparison to the previous year of $3.02m. This was due to a number of substantial unbudgeted community grants including $1m to a Pike River Mine relief fund, $1.5m to two regional cycle-way projects and $100,000 to the Canterbury earthquake relief fund.

"These unbudgeted community distributions of $2.6m did have a negative financial impact on DWC's bottom-line. However, Trustees are confident with solid advice received that they have made the correct decisions," says Dr Chang.

The 2011/12 financial year will also see significant community distributions. Trustees have committed to an extraordinary distribution of $6m which will see Buller, Grey and Westland District Council's provided with a special one-off fund of $2 million each. The $2 million is expected to provide an economic boost to the three districts through to March 2016 and enable each district to fund various community assets and projects at their discretion.

(31 August 2011)


Development West Coast gives $100,000 to Community Trusts

Development West Coast will provide the West Coast Community Trust and Solid Energy Amateur Sports Trust with $100,000 this year to distribute to community groups.

DWC historically distributed community grants through several channels including Community Distributions and CEO Delegation. However Trustees have decided it makes more sense for Councils and community groups to make funding decisions. This means DWC will no longer be directly involved with community funding applications.

"The main reasoning behind this approach is to empower the local community charitable organisations," says Development West Coast Chair John Sturgeon.

"In the opinion of the current DWC Board these organisations are better connected to their local community groups and have an integral understanding of their needs. They are better placed to make funding decisions," he says.

Last month DWC announced a $2 million one off extraordinary distribution to each of the three District Councils. The $6 million is expected to provide an economic boost to the three districts through to March 2016, enabling each district to fund various community assets and projects at their discretion, and should be a significant impetus for the local economy.

Together these two initiatives mean decisions about community funding will now be made by the three councils and two community trusts, not Development West Coast.

Trustees decided to allocate $90,000 to the West Coast Community Trust and $10,000 to the Solid Energy Amateur Sports Trust.

The West Coast Community Trust has been running for 23 years and is governed by nine trustees who represent their communities and are appointed by the Minister of Finance.

"This will be a good boost for the West Coast Community Trust, it will almost double our annual distribution. Our next grant round is October so I encourage Coasters to apply," says Chair Dennis Straker.

Chair of the Solid Energy Amateur Sports Trust Chips Robinson is also welcoming the grant.

"It's going to be great for the sports community. Our Trust committee will be meeting shortly to work out how the $10,000 grant will be distributed," he says.

Organisations that were planning to apply to DWC for a community grant have been contacted to advise of this new direction and are welcome to lodge an application with an alternative funding organisation.

Development West Coast will continue to consider loans to community organisations for capital development projects although this does not include maintenance. These loans will be assessed on a strictly commercial basis.

Major District Initiative funding of $1.2 million per annum to the West Coast District Councils will continue to be distributed directly by DWC to the councils for the purpose of applying the funds to significant community projects.

(19 July 2011)


Winners of the West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards Announced

Engineering and Construction company GT Liddell Contracting Ltd was last night named as the supreme winner of the inaugural West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards.

The winners were announced at a black tie function at Shantytown on Friday 8 July.

Development West Coast Chair John Sturgeon says the winners should be extremely proud of their achievements.

"These companies have been judged as the best in the region. It is the first time their successes have been acknowledged and the judges commented that choosing the winners was very difficult as all finalists were of an exceptionally high standard," he says.

The winners are:

Solid Energy NZ – Service and Retail – Unichem Olsen's Pharmacy

Duncan Cotterill - Primary Producer – Westland Milk Products

Tourism West Coast – Tourism – Westland Tourism Ltd

Buddle Findlay –Community/Charity Organisation – Tai Poutini Polytechnic

Westland Milk Products – Construction/Engineering/Manufacturing – GT Liddell Contracting Ltd

ACC – Workplace Safety – Westland Milk Products

Greymouth Star – Super Nova – GT Liddell Contracting Ltd

Development West Coast CEO John Chang says the awards serve to acknowledge the important role that business plays throughout the West Coast region.

"It has been a challenging year for business on the West Coast. These awards are even more significant in 2011 as the region emerges from a global economic recession, has had to deal with the challenge of the Pike River mining tragedy and, more recently, the catastrophic earthquakes which have had overwhelming consequences for our Cantabrian neighbours," he says.

Dr Chang says the awards would not have been possible without the support of all the sponsors.  He also thanked MC Mark Sainsbury and guest speaker, Julie Christie for taking their time to come down to Greymouth for the awards evening.

Dr Chang also wants to acknowledge the hard work of DWC Events Coordinator Julie Kissell and her colleagues in planning and co-ordinating the event.

On back of the tremendous success of this year's event, we are looking forward to the 2012 awards.

(11 July 2011)


Finalists Announced

Development West Coast, along with sponsors and supporters of the West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards, thank the West Coast business community for their support and commitment to this inaugural celebration of West Coast business excellence.

It is encouraging to have received around 40 quality entries in the first year.  We thank all entrants and acknowledge the considerable effort put towards their entries.  We would encourage all entrants to continue their support of this celebration of business excellence by entering again next year.

Congratulations to the 12 finalists across the six categories.   Judges commented on the difficulty in separating the finalists, given entries were of a high standard and  demonstrated aspects of business excellence.

The 12 finalists in the inaugural 2011 West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards are:

Solid Energy – Leading Light –Service & Retail

Unichem Olsen's Pharmacy Blackball SalamiWest Coast Shuttle 2007 Ltd

Westland Milk Products – Leading Light Construction/Engineering/Manufacturing

GT Liddell Contracting LtdWestpower/ElectroNet Group

Buddle Findlay – Leading Light - Community/Charity Organisation

Tai Poutini PolytechnicWest Coast Blue Penguin TrustNew Coasters Inc

Tourism West Coast – Leading Light - Tourism

Kea Heritage ToursFranz Josef Waiau Area, Department of ConservationWestland Tourism Ltd

Duncan Cotterill – Leading Light - Primary Producer

Westland Milk Products

ACC – Leading Light - Health & Safety

Westland Milk ProductsWestland Tourism LtdG T Liddell Contracting Ltd

The next step in the awards process will see all category finalists reassessed to determine the winner of each category.  Category winners will then be judged to determine the first West Coast Leading Light Super Nova Award winner. Winners will be announced at the gala dinner to be held at Shantytown on Friday the 8th July 2011. We look forward to a great night celebrating our region's leading lights of business excellence.

(15 June 2011)


Finalists Celebrate

Entrants, category finalists, and sponsors of the West CoastLeading Light Business Excellence Awards enjoyed a fabulous evening together over drinks and superb finger food at the Australasian Hotel on Tuesday 28 June in a lead up to their big night on 8th July.

Development West Coast Chief Executive Officer, Dr John Chang congratulated all entrants for the exceptional quality of their entries, noting judges had found it very difficult to choose the finalists.  He then presented finalists with certificates recognising their achievement, while a prize draw was undertaken for all non-finalists applicants.

Congratulations to Styliz Hair Salon who can treat their staff at one of a selection of West Coast restaurants to the value of $500, and also to Hokitika Cheese and Deli who was the winner of a $500 Greymouth Regent Theatre voucher.  What a great way to celebrate participation!

Finalists are now looking forward to the West CoastLeading Light Business Excellence Awards evening at Shantytown on 8th of July.  This prestigious night will see everybody in their best evening wear and will definitely set the bar for future events.

(15 June 2011)


Councils and community trusts to distribute DWC funds

Mayors from Buller, Grey and Westland District Councils yesterday signed a funding agreement with Development West Coast which will see each district provided with a special one-off fund of $2 million.

The $2 million is expected to provide an economic boost to the three districts through to March 2016 and enable each district to fund various community assets and projects at their discretion.

"It's about building significant assets in our community, such things are better directed through the councils who know their respective communities needs," says DWC Chair John Sturgeon.

While Development West Coast will not dictate how and where the fund is spent councils have agreed to ensure the money is applied to projects that meet the Trust's objects of promoting sustainable employment opportunities and economic benefits to the West Coast region.

Trustees have also resolved that the West Coast Community Trust and Solid Energy Amateur Sports Trust will each be a recipient of bulk funds from DWC for them to distribute to the community.

"The intent is to move away from Development West Coast directly making community grants," says Mr Sturgeon.

"There are organisations in the region who are better connected to the community so the Trust is moving towards an annual bulk funding model."

Councils have agreed not to make any applications to the Trust in respect of community assets and projects for a period of five years. However the Trust will continue to consider any commercial applications from community and charitable organisations.

As a requirement of the agreement Development West Coast wishes each of the Councils to consult thoroughly with its communities before deciding how to distribute the funds.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says Grey District has a number of projects which will fit the funding criteria.

"We can spend this money easily and if we spend it wisely it is a win win for everyone. Development West Coast is investing in the community and growth for the future.

Westland District Council has decided to use the money towards the four day Westland Cycle Trail.

"$2 million is going to go some way to developing our cycle trail which will bring real economic benefit to the Coast," says Westland Mayor Maureen Pugh.

Buller District Council Mayor Pat McManus says the council has set up a small working group to develop a set of criteria for applications.

"We haven't decided where the money will go yet but I think the council should look at doing joint ventures or leverage to turn the $2 million into a $4 million project.

Over the past 10 years DWC has injected over $27 million into the community for various projects and purposes. An additional $13.2 million has been allocated through the Major District Initiative programme which has seen major community assets built including Buller's Solid Energy Centre, Greymouth's Aquatic Centre and the refurbishment of Hokitika's Regent Theatre. This translates to over $40 million cash into the West Coast community.

The extraordinary distribution fund has been approved by the Minister of Finance in his capacity as Settlor under the Deed of Trust.

(8 June 2011)




Development West Coast Invests in Dairy Industry

Development West Coast has invested $5 million in West Coast dairy farm company Cranley Farms Ltd.

The investment made via Development West Coast's distribution fund means Development West Coast will take a 43.5% shareholding in the company which owns dairy farm development Cedar Farm in Westland's Arahura Valley.

Cranley Farms Ltd plans to become a significant provider of milk to Westland Milk Products. Cedar Farm is currently milking 1,250 cows and producing 375,000kgs of milk solids per annum on once-a-day milking for the entire season. It aims to reach peak production within five years which will see it milking 1800 cows and producing 700,000kgs of milk solids. This translates to a total revenue of $5.4 million in the West Coast economy (based on projected payout of $7.70 per kg), and does not include the downstream benefits attributed to the milk processing sector.

Development West Coast CEO John Chang says Cranley Farms Ltd approached the Trust in mid 2010 seeking investment to expand its operations.

"After an exhaustive due diligence it was concluded the investment met Development West Coast's objects of sustainable economic benefits and promotion of employment opportunities," says Dr Chang.

"Given several Development West Coast Trustees are involved in the dairy industry we were careful to observe proper good governance. Any related interests were registered and appropriately dealt with," he says.

"The company plans to develop the land and build another milking shed and two houses which will provide employment in the short term. Given dairying is a significant industry on the Coast and a major employer benefits will flow right through the community".

Cranley Farms Ltd also has interests in Bold Head farm in Ross and Parkdale Farm in North Canterbury. Until now it has been owned by equity partners including a number of mainly local investors.

Director and shareholder Ian Robb says the investment means another large dairy farm can be developed on the Coast.

"We currently employ 8 people on Cedar dairy farm and 5 on the other farms, and this will increase to 19 within twelve months. On top of that we'll employ another six contractors in the next six months developing the land and grassing and fencing the property. In the new year we'll start building the new milking shed and two houses," says Mr Robb.

Westland Milk Products CEO Rod Quin says he is delighted at the news.

"Westland Milk Products priority is to increase milk production on the Coast. This investment shows a commitment to dairying and the West Coast," he says.

West Coast dairy farmer, Mr David Milne, has been appointed to the Board of Cranley Farms Ltd as Development West Coast's board appointment. Mr Milne has considerable dairying experience on the West Coast and it is expected his skills and knowledge will complement those of the existing Cranley Farms board.

(24 May 2011)



West Coast Businesses Keen to Celebrate Success

Organisers of the West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards are delighted with the number of applications they have received.

Around 40 West Coast businesses have entered the inaugural awards which celebrate business excellence in the region.

"We're extremely happy with the number and mix of entries in the first year. It proves the West Coast business community is ready to celebrate its' business achievements," says Development West Coast CEO John Chang.

Dr Chang says corporate sponsors also need to be acknowledged. "This event would not be possible without the fantastic response from the corporate sponsors and support from the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce."

Three categories were particularly popular ; Solid Energy Service and Retail, Tourism West Coast Tourism and ACC Workplace Safety.

Development West Coast's events co-­‐ordinator Julie Kissell says many businesses have commented that no matter what the result on the night the entry process has been of real benefit.

"This entry process has made the business owners focus on their achievements and areas of weakness, which is something they often don't find the time to do," she says.

A pool of 25 judges will now judge the entries with finalists announced to the public on June the 15th.

Winners will be revealed at a black tie gala event at Shantytown on Friday the 8th of July. The event will be hosted by TVNZ's Mark Sainsbury and offers an ideal opportunity to celebrate business excellence and acknowledge the valuable contribution West Coast businesses are making to the local economy.

(13 May 2011)


DWC approves $6 million economic boost to region

DWC yesterday approved a $6 million grant to be distributed amongst the three West Coast District Councils.

The $2 million to each council is expected to provide an economic boost to the three districts and enable each district to fund various community assets and projects at their discretion.

While approved, the funding is still subject to each Council signing a joint funding agreement with DWC, and will also be dependent on DWC gaining the appropriate approval from its Settlor, the Minister of Finance.

The one-off distribution has, in part, been made in light of the current economic environment, and also ties in with the Government's economic recovery package for the West Coast that was announced recently.

Over the past 10 years DWC has injected over $27 million into the community for various projects and purposes, excluding the further $13.2 million allocated to the Major District Initiative (MDI) programme. It is programmes such as the MDI that have had a significant impact on the local communities, and Trustees see the benefits in continuing to work with the Councils and other key organisations across the West Coast to develop a common vision of how the economic interests of the region can best be advanced.

Upon signing the agreement, DWC's Chair and Mayors will make a joint announcement detailing the Extraordinary Distribution.

(3 May 2011)


Business Awards Launch 2011

Until now, the West Coast was the only region in New Zealand that did not hold an annual business awards.  Development West Coast together with our sponsors are pleased to announce the inaugural "West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards".

This black tie gala event will be held on July 8th 2011 at the iconic tourist destination Shanytown. The MC for the evening is well known current affairs television presenter and host of TVNZ Close Up, Mark Sainsbury.

This event offers an ideal opportunity to celebrate business excellence in our region and acknowledge the valuable contribution West Coast businesses are making to our local economy.

The West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards will attract the most progressive business minds on the West Coast, all vying to be the best in the West.

1.             Why Enter the Awards

An opportunity to focus on your business and identify core strengths and competitive advantages as well as areas that may benefit from more focus in the future.Provides a networking opportunity with other business leaders and professionals.Award winners receive public recognition of business excellence.Award winners receive regional media coverage.Entrants who make the semi-final stage receive independent assessment and feedback from experienced judges.The award process provides a platform on which to acknowledge the contribution made by employees to your organisation's success.Participation provides a means of engendering pride in your organisation.Participation provides another dimension for show casing your services and products to a wider audience.

Award Categories

Individual businesses are entitled to enter one category each. All businesses may enter the Workplace Safety Category in addition to another category, or as a stand alone.

Solid Energy NZ Ltd - Leading Light - Small/medium enterprise – Service & Retail

Excellent service support and a strong retail sector are all fundamental to a vibrant economy. This category recognises excellence in Small/medium enterprises in the service and retail sectors.

Buddle Findlay - Leading Light - Primary Producer

This category recognises excellence in the primary production sector which has formed the backbone of the West Coast economy i.e. mining, fishing, forestry, agriculture, horticulture and farming are included in this category.

Westland Milk Products - Leading Light - Construction/Engineering/Manufacturing

Construction, Engineering and Manufacturing are recognised as major contributors to the West Coast economy and this category recognises excellence and innovation in these sectors.

Tourism West Coast - Leading Light – Tourism

Recognises excellence in the Tourism sector.

Duncan Cotterill - Leading Light - Community/Charity Organisations

This category recognises the excellent work of community/charity organisations.

ACC - Leading Light - Workplace Safety

This award recognises excellence in workplace safety. It will be awarded to a business with an outstanding health and safety initiative or workplace safety culture. This award can be entered in addition to other categories

(Please note, should you be selected as a finalist for the ACC Workplace Safety Award, ACC will arrange a site visit as part of the judging)

Greymouth Evening Star - Leading Light - Super Nova Award

This category is the overarching supreme award from which winners of all categories are entered.

Entries close 5.00pm, Monday 9th May 2011

(17 March 2011)