- Many of you mention getting some more business into the town. Can you give examples of what type of businesses you would like to see expand in Whanganui?
- How do you see our city in the future- with some specific examples of what you would like to see built/gotten rid off/overall image you would like to create?
- Many of you talk of living within our means ad not spending money on unnecessary projects. Could you give examples of the things you think Whanganui does not need?
Good morning Martin
Thanks for your questions.
Firstly your question about business, I would be working firstly to identify those existing resources we have that would be available to business, I do not want to see us targeting business that will require additional ratepayer funded investment into infrastructure.
An example would be the warm water coming from one of our existing bore which cost us a lot of money to establish. It is too warm to use without cooling, but is there a business type that has a use for potable warm water?
We have hills covered in native manuka, and honey growers from outside our area scrambling to sign up landowners for hive placement.Can we work smarter and cooperatively to ensure this industry is run locally therefore increasing employment and investment.
I am keen to see more diversification, to look at our climate as a factor in increasing investment in horticulture and to attract the increasing number of business owners who can use Whanganui as their base , technology has changed so rapidly that this is becoming attractive to many looking to find a better place to bring up their families.
We are hearing this all the time from our guests at our own lodge.
Secondly our image... I want to see us get rid of our negative attitude to each others differences.If we can start respecting each other we will then begin to start feeling more postive about living here.
We need to work together to re-instate our image on the national stage and to be on the map in a positive way, I know it all sounds a bit warm and fuzzy, but i see the difference when i go to other places, New Plymouth for example.
When you talk to people there they just love where they live and are happy to tell you all about it.Here we seem to have aquired a habit of putting ourselves down.
This must change if we are to make positive progress in a way which benefits all.
We need to look after and improve what we already have, to look at whats missing and to work out how we can pay for it without adding to the burden faced by ratepayersw.Let me know if there is something specific you think we need here.
Finally your question about unneccessary projects. It is my opinion that we have been making decisions about new projects without careful planning and research.And we are not ensuring that the amount being spent has the genuine and measurable returns to ratepayers to justify the cost.
An example is the new information centre.Yes it is going to be a lovely building on the riverfront, and yes we needed a new information centre.But it has taken so long to make a decision to relocate the Info Centre that times have changed.And we dont need a large expensive space for that purpose anymore.[What we did need was a better location for our bus services which deliver visitors to us and we still dont have that in the new complex]. Travellers find the info they need in different ways now , i phones, PC\'s , in car navigators are just a few examples.There were other options in the same location that would have cost considerable less than the approx $3 m we are spending.But we have it now and the challenge is to make sure it delivers results.
There are many other smaller examples of unneccessary spending that consolidated could have given a much better outcome.
I am happy to talk about this more if you wish but I recognise that my answers are getting lengthy.