Westland Workgear has recently opened a new purpose-built premise in Greymouth. Commercial finance from DWC has helped the company build the 1200 square metre building, enabling them to keep their warehousing operation on the West Coast.
Owner and director Lewis Simpkin said their original premises served them well, but became a constraint to growth, especially due to the lack of warehouse space and facilities for their expanding workforce – which has grown from two to 16 staff.
“We were faced with the option of getting a bigger premise in Greymouth or splitting off our warehousing operation and locating it in another centre (e.g. Christchurch), and retaining our original retail premises in Greymouth,” says Lewis.
Westland Workgear pursued the option of keeping the operation together in one larger building in Greymouth. Unable to find a suitable existing building they looked into building their own.
“Early on in the process contact was made with DWC and maintained through the whole project. We found the staff to be knowledgeable and helpful and very keen to help keep our entire operation on the West Coast,” Lewis says.
“We found banks were very wary about funding a development project due to their fear of the risk of significant cost over-runs. At this point we applied to DWC for a loan to cover the build.
“We wish to express our sincere thanks to DWC for their support and encourage ongoing cooperation with other West Coast businesses to keep our region going forward,” he adds.
From their new building Westland Workgear can now offer a nationwide service - all from the West Coast.
The Government’s announcement of the $140m investment package from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for the West Coast acknowledges the importance of the region to New Zealand, while also providing a significant injection of cash into the region’s economy, which will benefit most Coasters either directly or indirectly.
It is important to remember this is not the last PGF announcement for the region. If you have a project that meets the fund criteria, you can still apply. Businesses looking for assistance are encouraged to approach DWC as a first point of contact.
There are various avenues of funding available to Coast businesses and DWC can point you in the right direction and help you with the process, whether that is applying to the PGF or for commercial finance through DWC itself.
DWC is also part of the Regional Business Partner Programme. This is a network that opens businesses up to assistance through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Callaghan Innovation, as well as support from the Business Mentors New Zealand Mentoring Programme.
There are various forms of business assistance available to West Coast businesses and linking Coast businesses with this support is one of the many services DWC offers.
A course for commercial and recreational drone operators will be held next month in Hokitika.
Irresponsible drone usage is causing flights to be halted at major international airports on an increasingly regular basis. These incidents, and a near-miss with a helicopter at Franz Josef Glacier, have highlighted the potential safety risks drones can pose to passenger planes.
Drone use is becoming more and more popular as a hobby and for commercial purposes, with many drone operators now on the West Coast.
Hokitika Airport manager Drew Howat said the separation of drones from manned aircraft was becoming increasingly important as drones occupied more air space.
"A small drone can readily penetrate the wing of a manned aircraft. Considering aircraft wings usually house the fuel tanks, the results of a mid-air collision are likely to be catastrophic," Mr Howat said.
"The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) consider drones to be aircraft, therefore the operators are deemed to be pilots."
Last November, DWC partnered with Fly UAV to hold two drone operator courses. Due to demand, these courses will be held again in March.
Richard Milner from Fly UAV says that under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 employers are responsible to provide training for employees on all equipment, including drones, and the 101 course is a great place to start.
Local videographer Dave Kwant attended the advanced course saying it was very informative and done in a practical hands-on way.
The one-day Part 101: Basic Remote Pilot Certificate course is $500 (+GST) scheduled for 18 March, and the two-day Part 102: Advanced Remote Pilot Certificate course if $999 (+GST) scheduled for 18-20 March.
For more information see https://flyuav.co.nz/
Participants from the Drone Operator course, held in November.
With the end of the year approaching, it is timely to reflect on the accomplishments of the West Coast business community.
This year we were able to celebrate some of our successful local businesses at the DWC Leading Light Business Excellence Awards, with Coastpak Besgrow taking out the Supreme Award, and West Coast Scenic Waterways winning the Rising Star Award.
2018 has also seen many West Coast businesses winning awards on the national stage. Most recently BP2Go Greymouth took home the Employer Award at the Attitude Awards in Auckland, demonstrating you do not have to be cutthroat to be successful in business – being good Coasters works.
The innovation and achievements of our business community are forcing the national media to take notice. This year has seen Coast businesses splashed across magazine covers, national newspaper articles and television news stories.
The Government recently announced a $140 million investment package for the West Coast from their Provincial Growth Fund. This package will provide a significant boost to our region.
It is great to see these investments are playing not only to our historic strengths, but also looking towards the future by supporting our emerging industries.
Not everyone may agree with the particulars of all of these investments, but at the end of the day it is a large injection of cash into the West Coast economy that will only benefit the region, and there are more to come.
With the achievements of our business community and the boost to our economy from the PGF, things are looking bright for the West Coast. At DWC we look forward to working with you to continue this momentum into the coming year.
DWC wishes you all a Merry Christmas, and a safe and happy New Year.
Chris Mackenzie | Chief executive
15 April 2019
Marketing campaign to get visitors back to the Coast
Following the reopening of the Waiho Bridge, Development West Coast (DWC) Trustees have allocated a budget of $41,000 for a targeted marketing campaign starting today to ensure visitor numbers get back to their usual thriving levels.
The West Coast has been one of the fastest growing tourism regions in New Zealand with visitors injecting over half a billion dollars directly into the economy each year. Tourism is critical to the West Coast economy, and any major disruptions to visitor numbers will have a significant economic impact on the wider region.
“The loss of the Waiho Bridge seriously impacted businesses right along the Coast, not only those in Fox and Franz townships. Thankfully a new bridge has been built in just 18 days,” says DWC chief executive Chris Mackenzie.
“We are incredibly grateful to the New Zealand Transport Agency, local contractors and members of the Army’s 2nd Engineer Regiment for their tireless work building a new bridge in such a short time, reopening this key touring route.”
DWC’s Regional Tourism Manager Jim Little is overseeing an extensive marketing campaign to get visitors back during the crucial Easter holiday period.
“We need to get the word out that the Waiho Bridge is open, and our Untamed Natural Wilderness is open for business,” says Mr Little.
“Through extensive use of press and radio coupled with social media we will be targeting key markets to ensure visitor numbers are strong during this important holiday period.”