Economic development comes under spotlight

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An economic development forum held on Monday by the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Waitaki and the Waitaki District Council has left mayor Gary Kircher a happy man.

“The region is in great shape.”

About 70 people were invited, with 35 attending, all of whom left feeling happy about where the region is heading.

Mr Kircher said the region was coming along well.

“Things are going really well at the moment and the positives certainly outweigh the negatives.” He said they are all looking at different ways to improve the district and Oamaru anyway they can.

“We are looking at ways we can improve customer service to make the town as friendly as possible, while also making sure that it’s seen as a place people would love to come, to set up business here,” he said.

He said not having a direct airport was seen as a hindrance to attracting some top businesses to the area but the proximity to Dunedin and Timaru made it a small hiccup.

The lack of a real top class five star hotel was another negative, but Mr Kircher said they were working on fixing that.

“We have been discussing what would be best, whether it’s to do up the Brydone and work with the licensing trust, or have something done from scratch.”

One top priority is making sure the Alps2Ocean cycle track is away from main roads.

Mr Kircher said they were working together to continue making the Waitaki district a better place.

“We want businesses and people to relocate here and the only way we can do that is by being the best we can be in everything.”