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Looking forward . . . Oamaru Business Collective founder Annabel Berry says the business community needs to be proactive in the wake of Covid-19. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

A survey conducted by the Oamaru Business Collective has revealed that 95% of businesses have confidence they will survive the Covid-19 fallout.

However, almost half of the 103 Oamaru business owners and managers who responded to the survey said they feared conditions for business would deteriorate over the next 12 months.

The key to making conditions better was to be proactive as a community, Oamaru Business Collective founder Annabel Berry said.

Shop local campaigns, which were already under way, were regarded as important by 75% of those surveyed.

A new town identity, to make Oamaru a better place to live and do business, was listed as a priority by 72% of respondents.

“This is not to do with tourism . . . this is about attracting business investment and attracting people to move here and live here,” Mrs Berry said.

“There are people all over New Zealand assessing their own lives, and businesses and looking for opportunities outside their towns and bubbles.

“Oamaru has all the opportunities here.

“We have amazing commercial buildings, cheap housing, great schooling and we need the messaging right to attract those people to come here.”

Mrs Berry would like the Waitaki District Council to put forward a town revitalisation project for Government funding.

“I would really like to put the town revitalisation project forward, as similar towns are doing across New Zealand.”

Events and activities were also viewed as important by 71% of those surveyed.

“We are looking at ways, when we are allowed in Level 1, of hosting events and activities in town that not only bring locals, but domestic travellers from outside of town.

“The more collaboration we can do the better. Let’s stop seeing town as divided.

“We want to bring everyone together.”

Since its inception last year, the Oamaru Business Collective has continued to grow its membership. It now has 247 members from local businesses.

Last weekend a committee was formed comprising Soul Surf and Skate co-owner Jeremy Holding, Oamaru Licensing Trust general manager Cathy Maaka, Presence on Harbour owner Dawn Brown, Health 2000 Oamaru owner Lynette Taylor, Rebellious Rose owner Rachael Keen and The Business Hive director Cara Tipping Smith.

“The time has definitely come for a collective team who can work with me to drive projects and ideas forward,” Mrs Berry said.