Renee Rooney, DWC Chair - 10 July 2019

It goes without saying that the primary industries on the West Coast are all incredibly important for our Region’s wellbeing, both economically and socially, whether it be farming, extraction, forestry, or fishing.

At the time of writing, West Coast dairy farmers were in the process of voting and preparing themselves for the outcome of one of the biggest decisions they will ever make – whether Westland Milk Products will be sold or remain as an independent farmer-owned co-operative.

Westland Co-operative Dairy Company has been part of our Region’s fabric for over 80 years, giving our farmers a real sense of pride and belonging in having ownership of something very special.

Being faced with deciding which direction to take the co-operative into the future has been confronting for many. Decisions made by individual farmer shareholders will not have been made lightly. We now await with much anticipation of any change in ownership that may occur.

But what won’t change is the beautiful untamed natural wilderness we live, work, play, and invest in – something that is envied by many from afar.

At DWC, we’re focussed and working at Growing Business to Grow the Coast. DWC helps people, businesses, and organisations to grow, either in capability or in scale.

It goes without saying that the Trust Fund is a valuable asset to our Region, and it is crucial that we are utilising, distributing, and leveraging it prudently now and into the future.

An independent review of the Trust Deed and operations of DWC is currently underway. It is essential for our Region that the Trust Deed is fit for purpose going forward. Self-reviewing for any organisation should be standard practice and seen as a positive process. The review may recommend minor tweaks or major tweaks, or both, and we will be sure to communicate any outcome with our Coast community.

It is annual report time at DWC. Looking back at the last 12 months, it’s fantastic to note how many people have engaged with DWC and its services. It is rewarding seeing this work captured and we look forward to releasing this in August.

We are in the process of recruiting for our new CEO, who will take up the reins later in the year. In the meantime, it’s business as usual with Chris Mackenzie still at the helm, and we’re all committed to having a smooth, seamless transition to avoid disruption, especially as we go through the local body election period.

The DWC team remains committed to keep the momentum going in the strategic direction we have been working hard on. Trustees are a future-focussed group with the best interests of the Region at the forefront of any decisions and strategic planning for the organisation. That said, we do acknowledge that actions speak louder than words.