Stewart Island future in community’s hands

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Stewart Islanders are being encouraged to get involved in the development of a plan that will capture what the community wants for its future.

Community consultant Sandra James said the community leadership planning process has proven successful in assisting communities to work together to determine their own futures, in partnership with government, local government and other agencies.

Stewart Island is facing challenges, like many regional areas in New Zealand, including declining population, declining youth population, declining employment opportunities, an ageing population and ageing infrastructure. In March 2017 Southland District Council completed the first phase of the community leadership planning process on Stewart Island and the District.

This included workshops with the Stewart Island Rakiura Community Board around the island’s future opportunities over three, 10 and 30 years, and identified what was important to its community now and into the future.

Now it’s the turn of the wider community to have its say.

“We want people from a wide range of interests and ages who are passionate about the future of Stewart Island to become involved,” Mrs James said.

In addition, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has joined forces with Council following the discovery of the bonamia parasite in some farmed oysters, because of the significant impact this has had on the Stewart Island community. Funds have been set aside to develop investment proposals for ideas generated from the planning process.

Ideas will be sought a number of ways including

  • A community engagement fete on the island on 10 November
  • A residents survey
  • Suggestion boxes
  • Two community workshops, one in late November, the other in early February

The plan will then be developed and presented to Council in February.  It will belong to the community and be a ‘living document’ as it will continue to be adapted and refined to suit community purposes, passions, aspirations, and learnings.

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