Wheels set in mo­tion af­ter think-tank

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By STEVE ED­WARDS

With sup­port from busi­ness lead­ers, Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil says it is putting in a strong case to the Gov­ern­ment for ul­tra-fast broad­band (UFB).

At an eco­nomic think-tank in Mor­rinsville in Fe­bru­ary, or­gan­ised by the coun­cil, UFB arose as the num­ber one pri­or­ity iden­ti­fied by those at­tend­ing, coun­cil com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Adele Pre­ston said.

‘‘ Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment have an­nounced that ad­di­tional fund­ing is avail­able to ex­tend ul­tra fast broad­band cov­er­age, ru­ral broad­band cov­er­age, and to ad­dress mo­bile blackspots,’’ she said. ‘‘We are sub­mit­ting a pro­posal for our dis­trict to re­ceive these en­hanced ser­vices.

‘‘To gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the cur­rent broad­band and mo­bile cov­er­age in the area, we ran a sur­vey and re­ceived over 400 re­sponses. This pro­vides us with the in­for­ma­tion that will help us put a strong case to cen­tral Gov­ern­ment.’’

Other top­ics dis­cussed at the think-tank in­cluded car park­ing is­sues, a lack of in­fra­struc­ture/ com­mer­cial land and op­por­tu­ni­ties around tourism and dis­trict pro­mo­tion.

Fol­low­ing the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment event, Pre­ston said the coun­cil met with staff from ma­jor busi­nesses in the dis­trict.

‘‘ The main con­straints to growth iden­ti­fied at the meet­ing were re­la­tion­ships with Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil, wa­ter sup­ply/ waste­water, avail­abil­ity of skilled staff and the lack of ac­cess to gas sup­ply,’’ she said. ‘‘ We have set up an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment work­ing party to work through all of the ideas dis­cussed at the think-tank. The ideas have been pri­ori­tised and the group is re­view­ing the var­i­ous is­sues.’’

Pre­ston said the coun­cil has also cre­ated a new ‘‘case man­ager’’ po­si­tion so that busi­nesses can have one main point of con­tact. James Ross is able to as­sist busi­nesses who may need to deal with dif­fer­ent de­part­ments of coun­cil for a pro­ject or new ven­ture.

‘‘James’ role has been cre­ated to make do­ing busi­ness eas­ier and help es­tab­lish new busi­nesses in our dis­trict.’’

The work­ing party in­ves­ti­gat­ing op­tions

is for ad­di­tional car park­ing in Mor­rinsville, Pre­ston said. ‘‘We are look­ing to un­der­stand the cur­rent is­sues, ex­plor­ing ar­eas of va­cant land that could be used for car park­ing and eval­u­at­ing the costs of dif­fer­ent op­tions.’’

The Reg­is­tra­tion of In­ter­est was tabled at coun­cil’s cor­po­rate and oper­a­tions com­mit­tee meet­ing on June 24. The ap­proved doc­u­ment needs to be with the Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment by July 3.

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