Happy New Year to all Coasters! I’m pleased to see the back of the rain-filled 2019, which caused all sorts of trouble for our Region, and to be welcoming in 2020 and the sunshine.
The beginning of a new decade. One that will be filled with many opportunities, and no doubt challenges, that will affect our Region. Looking back over the last decade, it’s been a real mixed bag of good times and bad on the Coast.
Tempus fugit – time flies – and before we know it 2030 will be around the corner. What can we achieve in the next ten years? What will our Region look like? What sectors will be our major employers? What industry will be returning the biggest benefit to our Region? We’ve got so much on offer, and I’m hopeful we will be strongly leveraging our Untamed Natural Wilderness branding and utilising our many natural resources to generate real economic benefits to the Coast.
Some of you will remember a TV campaign from the 80’s – “Don’t leave town till you’ve seen the country”. Here on the Coast we have an enormous number of activities for locals and visitors to enjoy. Over the holiday period, the DWC Tourism Team travelled the length of the Coast, along with local West Coast film and photography talent, producing a new marketing campaign due to be launched.
This DWC-led campaign, supported by special funding from central government, and in conjunction with Tourism NZ, will showcase “West Coast Must Do”. Because we’re more than just scenery - there is so much to do here. As a region we need to capitalise on this and capture the economic benefits available.
For DWC, we begin the decade with a new CEO at the helm. Welcome to Heath Milne, a Coaster returning to his hometown. Starting his career locally and after several years working overseas, Heath returns bringing with him commercial experience, business acumen and, just as important, a real understanding of the Coast. We are kicking off the new decade with much energy and excitement and are looking forward to getting to work on new and existing projects, and hunting out new opportunities, to bring economic benefit to the region.
DWC is committed to working hard to grow business to grow the Coast, however we can’t do this alone, and it’s important we continue to work closely with our regional leaders, councils, business and community groups, and central government.
Established in 2001 with an initial fund of $92m, DWC has directly invested close to $160m into the West Coast economy, while maintaining the fund at $135m to ensure we can continue investing in the region. $160m investment into the West Coast economy – not bad at all! What will our report card look like come 2030?
(DWC Chair - Renee Rooney)