Moves to create a stronger economic environment for the Wairoa community are already addressing many issues highlighted by a business report released by the Wairoa District Council.
A recent survey, carried out for the council by local company Vision Projects as a first step towards identifying the needs of the business community, showed a significant number of respondents felt the council was not doing enough to grow the economy.
The council's economic development officer, Alex Powdrell, said the survey displayed what was already apparent, and confirmed the WDC was "on the money" when it came to investing in economic development at this time.
"It was important for us to carry out this survey at the beginning of our contract to build a picture of the current business environment. We can use this information to make positive change," Mrs Powdrell said.
Several had already been set in motion, including the establishment of a business action group charged with improving business and promoting community events downtown. Upstream Wairoa has already put some runs on the board and is currently poised to launch Christmas promotions including Santa's Workshop and a Marine Parade market day on Saturday December 22. This follows hard on the heels of the enormously successful Lighthouse Festival.
Plans are also in place for a promotion of events taking place throughout the district in January and February.
"This is a very motivated group of people. Our hope now is to expand the scope to include other business operators, not necessarily located in the Wairoa township, to create round table-style organisation," she said.
Positives from the survey included loyal customers and employees, great lifestyle and good community facilities. The most promising growth area identified was tourism, supported by improved infrastructure, amenities and safety, community and tourism promotion and encouraging new business development.
Declining population, high rates, and lack of employment were noted as hindering growth.
Out of the 84 survey forms returned, 35 per cent were from retailers, 21 per cent were from commerce and 18 per cent were from the agriculture/forestry industry. The full survey is available online at www.wairoadc.govt.nz.