Renee Rooney, DWC Chair - 31 October 2018

 

With challenges there can also be opportunities. Our West Coast region has a history rich in both challenges and opportunities, and Coasters are well known for their hard-work ethic, pioneering spirit and resilience.

Our natural resources and untamed natural environment provided abundant employment in our primary sectors and generated significant economic benefits for our communities and towns for many, many years.

Doubts have been cast over access to some of these opportunities in recent times. It is an uncertain time for our region as we think to what the future may look like, but Coasters have united together in the past to find workable solutions for a way forward, ensuring a prosperous and sustainable region.

When faced with challenges, sometimes getting together with others who are facing challenges of their own can lead to inspiration and resourcefulness.

As the old adage goes, a problem shared is a problem halved.

I was one of a small contingent of West Coasters who ventured up to New Plymouth recently, spending time with Taranaki civic and business leaders.

Not only is Taranaki similar to our region with their three district councils, a regional council and an economic development agency (and their fair share of rain!), but their region is also facing challenges - the imminent end to offshore oil exploration. It was interesting to learn of possible opportunities ahead for their region as they transition to a new economy.

As I write this column, I'm looking forward to attending the Development West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards to be held at Shantytown. What a brilliant evening it will be as we come together to acknowledge, showcase and celebrate some of our wonderful West Coast businesses and organisations, and their contribution to our West Coast Region.

We have much to be proud of here on the Coast - it is important we take a step back at times to focus on the positives and celebrate success.