Timaru: More ‘doers’ needed
‘‘The world's our oyster, really. ’’
The man set to become Timaru’s newest councillor says building community participation and pride in his hometown will be one of his main aims while he is in local government.
Nigel Bowen, co-owner of Speight’s Ale House, secured an overwhelming majority in the byelection with 5241 of the 10,483 votes cast.
Mark Rogers was second with 1795 votes, followed by Anthony Brien (1338), Owen ‘‘OJ’’ Jackson (1255) and Murray Cleverley (823).
Bowen, who grew up in Timaru and has spent most of his life here, attending Roncalli College, said attracting tourists into the district would be a main focus for him.
When it came to Timaruvians improving their town, he wanted to see ‘‘less social media commentators and more doers’’.
‘‘All the councillors that are currently in there have the same mindset [as me].’’
Making the most of Caroline Bay, one of the town’s key assets, would be central to drawing more visitors in, Bowen said.
He did not have
‘‘all the answers’’ at this stage, but while he was in council he wanted the Timaru people to ‘‘tell us what they want’’.
‘‘The world’s our really.’’
He has previously said keeping rates and debt levels down will also be key, along with building better infrastructure for everyone - and finding a way to balance ‘‘fluffy’’ facilities which will appeal to both visitors and locals, like the art gallery, with work on improving the town’s infrastructure.
Through his work with the CBD Group, and organising an events workshop for event organisers around the district - in the hope of building one unified events strategy - Bowen said he was already trying to think of ways of promoting the town more.
He has previously said that Timaru people ‘‘bagging’’ their town have a tendency to put visitors off.
Bowen said he did not believe there was any conflict of interest with his position as CBD Group chairman, but said he would be discussing the issue with the council.
Bowen was appointed to the role of chairman late last year, following a recommendation to establish a group at a Timaru District Council meeting.
Nigel Bowen wants more attractions on Caroline Bay.