Connection. It’s something we’ve all missed and craved in recent times: being able to see friends and whānau, and attending special occasions and social events.
I’m sure many are with me when I say there’s only so much digital connection one can take.
So, as we begin 2023, I look forward positively and expectantly to the year ahead buoyed by what I experienced over the summer break.
Despite the mixed bag of weather, my family and I loved the freedom to be able to fill our holidays with all our favourite things to do.
Whether visiting treasured or new places, cooling off at the beach or nearest swimming hole or soaking up the good vibes of concerts, markets and fairs, our District really is awesome at this time of year.
And everywhere we went there was a real buzz in our community. A renewed confidence and energy to make up for lost time.
People are living in the moment, and enjoying what’s in front of them and around them. Friends and whānau are reconnecting, and much loved summer concerts and A&P shows are back on the summer programme.
Council is similarly catching up with mahi that has been put on hold either directly because of Covid-19 restrictions, or the resulting supply chain issues. I look forward to seeing:
- preliminary works getting started on the Ōmokoroa intersection. This intersection will unlock critical housing supply for the region by solving the existing safety and capacity issues at the intersection. Once completed, more than 900 new homes will be built by 2029 – including a mix of standalone homes, affordable homes and medium density housing.
- the opening of the 89-hectare Waitekohekohe Reserve near Katikati. Dedicated to horse riding, mountain biking and walking, the development of the reserve is the result of Council and community working together following our Long Term Plan 2021-31.
- ticking off some long-awaited road rehabs to help keep our local roads safe for everyone who uses them.
- the completion of our three star gazing platforms at Waihī Beach along the trig trails in time for Matariki – strengthen our relationships with tangata whenua and helping our communities celebrate the importance of Matariki for years to come.
Which is why I want to build on this momentum by connecting, and staying in touch, with you, our communities.
Because often it is the casual conversations, on the street or at such events I’ve mentioned above, that are just as important – if not more beneficial than Council’s traditional methods.
So, in 2023 I want to be, and will be, connected with our District more.
We’ve got a big year ahead of us with some big conversations to be had.
- continuing our Your Place Tō wāhi (District Plan Review) kōrero – working with you to prioritise what’s important as we embark on a new journey to plan for change and growth
- beginning to develop a plan for where and how Te Puke should grow and develop in the future
- exploring what the next chapter in our waste minimisation story looks like.
And so, whether a current or future resident, a business operator, community group or mana whenua, your aspirations are important and we want to hear from you at certain times along the way.
Only by staying connected and working collaboratively – Council and community together – can we deliver real benefits for the Western Bay now and into the future.
So, I encourage you to take part.
May 2023 be fantastic for you and let’s see what great outcomes we can achieve together.