There has been a mix of news stories about our West Coast region over recent weeks - many of them positive but others negative that have sparked much conversation. The “Love Greymouth! West Coast NZ” Facebook campaign has been a real positive out of the negative.
As a region we are challenged by the constant changes to the environment - not just extreme weather events, but also our social and economic environment.
Coasters have a remarkable ability to step up and display resilience. We’re a tough bunch and we’re pretty good at finding solutions. Looking to our future we all know it’s essential we have resilient and sustainable communities , but how can we achieve this? Quite simply, we all need to start singing from the same song sheet. We need to celebrate our successes and share the positive opportunities available here throughout the Coast.
It is recognised that we are challenged at maintaining a sustainable and skilled workforce. How do we look after our own people to keep them in employment? And also, how do we attract others into our region to live, work, invest, raise a family and play here?
I’m sure most of us know someone who has made a deliberate decision to move to the Coast to either live, work or raise a family – what attracted these people to the Coast?
We have opportunities available through the Provincial Growth Fund, with business and community leaders working hard to leverage some good results for the Region. DWC has also refreshed its strategic plan to focus on greater support for businesses and grow the Coast.
To support our region, we also need suitable and well maintained infrastructure, along with reliable connectivity through internet access and mobile coverage.
Well thought out initiatives result in thriving communities, healthy school rolls and sports & cultural clubs, well maintained recreational facilities, a good range of local shops and services … the list is endless.
There is no silver bullet to achieving all this. I’m also a realist and understand that recent times have been tough, not only for our business sectors, but for our communities as well. We will continue to have ups and downs, but we need to keep moving forward as a region, adapting quickly and embracing change. The world moves very quickly, and we need to keep up with it.
Chair – Development West Coast