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Waitakere action plan for local development

Media Release

June, 11, 2009

Waitakere action plan for local economic development

More quality local jobs for local people and raising Waitakere’s profile as a hive of economic activity are among priorities in the new Waitakere Economic Wellbeing Strategy.

Waitakere City Council’s Policy and Strategy Committee has endorsed some priority areas for immediate attention. These include the development of a:

• Business Areas Plan
• Rural Economic Activities Plan
• Skills Chapter/ Learning Plan
• Tourism Action Plan

These top four are among 19 priority actions that will be progressed in collaboration with private and public sector partners.

“We want to provide a greater range and number of quality jobs for Waitakere residents,” says committee chair Penny Hulse. “As we move into a time of regional change we want our businesses in the West to be well positioned to hold their own in the Super City.”

“We want at least 60 percent of the city’s growing workforce to have the choice to work locally. Achieving this target will need collaborative effort by the many stakeholders in Waitakere’s economy. “

The document also builds on the progress made since the council adopted its first Economic Development Strategy in 2004, such as new business land and town centre development in the north of the city, enabling rural economic activity through the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area, council investment supporting tourism and events infrastructure such as the Trusts Stadium, and town centre regeneration that includes transport-oriented design.

Consultation was held with key business stakeholders who highlighted the many positive things happening in the city, as well areas for improvement.

A strong message from stakeholders was greater emphasis on promoting Waitakere’s attractions and community identity, which while appreciated by local residents, were sometimes overshadowed by negative perceptions of the West elsewhere.

The business sector highlighted the work done by Waitakere Enterprise and the council in trying to attract business to the region, but would like to see a city promotion campaign highlighting it as a great place to do business.

Other feedback included:
• A desire for a network of business areas with the “right things in the right places” and recognition of the smaller town centres as well as the three main centres.
• An emphasis on the link between education and economic independence and the importance of accessible, quality education institutions as well as spaces that encourage lifelong learning, such as in community hubs.
• Recognition of the council’s role in collaborating with the Waitakere Education Sector Trust and developing a Learning Plan,
• Appreciation of council’s role in creating strategies and collaborative arrangements to address social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing in Waitakere.
• More collaboration between business and the community and greater awareness of business programmes and services.

“Adopting this strategy endorses the council’s current policy on intervention and collaboration around economic development to benefit not just Waitakere businesses but across the Auckland region,” says Cr Hulse.

“But we can’t do it alone. We can be the leaders and the facilitators but we all have to be in this together.”

© Scoop Media

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