From the Mayor
As we create our new ‘normal’ at Level 2, now is the time to create a vision for the future of Kaikōura.
There is no doubt things are going to be tough, with many businesses struggling after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and the impact on tourism, but every cloud has a silver lining. Now is the time to work together and shop local, supporting our local businesses. Let’s build on our strengths and showcase the incredible beauty of the natural environment we call home.
There’s been a shift of thinking that has taken place in lockdown. I’ve been speaking to many people who are thinking differently, from how we run our businesses to how we live our lives. There’s a shift to a more sustainable way of living that stands us in good stead to benefit from the new budget investment of $1.1 billion into environmental jobs and projects in regional New Zealand. We have always valued our unique landscape and now with greater funding being offered we can continue to build on our past work.
It’s a balancing act between acting fast, creating real jobs right now for our community, and keeping an eye on the future. Council are working with partner organisations on ideas to put forward for consideration under the new environmental funding streams. At the same time, we have the strange opportunity presented by COVID-19 to create the place we want Kaikōura to be, for us and our visitors.
Given that we are going to be severely impacted by COVID-19, we have established an Economic Recovery Governance Group with community leaders. This team will work with our community to create and drive an Economic Recovery Plan, helping facilitate investment and partnership in recovery projects and supporting the planning of employment creation projects in the district.
Unfortunately, Level 4 scuttled the 2020/2021 Draft Annual Plan that was ready for consultation in April and May. However, while we have been in lockdown, Council management and staff have revised the Draft Annual Plan in order to balance the financial effects of COVID-19 on ratepayers with the planned earthquake recovery expenditure. We hope to have the document available for consultation in June and will promote this online through the Kaikōura Star and noticeboards around town. Please take the time to read the Consultation Document and let us know what you think.
I would also like to thank our community for the sacrifices that have been made to keep this community safe and healthy. Saying that I’m loving the freedom of Level 2, it’s great to talk to people face to face (from a safe distance). There are good Health and Safety protocols in place at every local business I’ve been too, and I’m impressed at the way everyone is adhering to the restrictions and working within the Level 2 guidelines. Let’s continue your good work and keep our community safe and healthy.
Our greatest asset right now is the place we live in and the people that live here. Let’s embrace that silver lining and be proactive in creating the new ‘normal’. I’m up for the challenge and I imagine you are too.
See you out there,
21 May 2020