Outlook of four mayoral candidates
‘‘When the streetscape looks good, Raukawa House looks good, then businesses will come on board’’
Unleashing the South Waikato’s full potential is a key focus of all four of its mayoral candidates.
Assembled up Colson Hill in Tokoroa Jenny Shattock, Alan Blair, Tracey Deane, and Jarrad Gallagher were asked three questions: If elected what’s going to be your main focus, how are you going to grab the opportunity the Taupo bypass and Waikato Expressway has brought to the area, and what have you got in mind when it comes to empty retail shops to improve the overall image of the South Waikato?
For current deputy mayor Shattock her main focuses will be retaining the population and jobs
‘‘We have got to address change in the population demographics. We need to retain our population, we need jobs for our youth,’’ she said.
For Blair it’s all about economic growth.
‘‘My main goal is to continue doing the good work the council has been doing over the last few years to foster economic growth and to make the South Waikato a preferred choice for investors, for people to come in live in, and for recreation,’’ he said.
Deane wants to see the council engaging more with the community.
‘‘I want the councillors more involved in community groups of their interest of course but I am also going to introduce an extra meeting for people to create the future of the South Waikato 20, 30, 40 years ahead and these will be all over the district and anyone can come,’’ she said.
Gallagher said he was going to focus on creating and rejuvenating.
‘‘There are some areas within our community that if we can rejuvenate and I am talking housing then we can create opportunities, one for our local businesses and two for people who are coming in,’’ he said.
When it comes to opportunities brought by the Taupo bypass and Waikato Expressway Shattock said the Leith Pl upgrade, Putaruru Moving Forward, and Tirau’s traffic management plan were all vital.
‘‘Ultimately [they will] bring more jobs,’’ she said.
Blair said improving the entrances to Tirau and Tokoroa were key.
‘‘First impressions count,’’ he said.
Deane said Tirau, Putaruru and Tokoroa each need to determine who they are going to serve in the flow of traffic.
‘‘There is no point in all three towns servicing the same people,’’ she said.
Gallagher said he wants to reexplore past ideas.
‘‘There has been a lot of discussion from previous councillors and previous mayors, possibly that have died in the ditch some of them, and I want to explore these areas, ‘he said.
As for addressing empty retail shops Shattock will look at a business gaps analysis.
‘‘Once we have done our tidy up we actually need to go and doorknock. We are a great place to live and we need to go out and tell those businesses we are here, ‘‘ she said.
Blair said it would be important to show landlords that to get better returns on their investments they need to tidy up their shops.
‘‘When the streetscape looks good, Raukawa House looks good, then businesses will come on board,’’ he said.
Deane said once the towns work out who they want to cater for businesses will come.
‘‘It will be natural as business people see opportunities,’’ she said.
Gallagher said through revitalisation he hopes to attract more people and businesses.
From left South Waikato mayoral candidates Tracey Deane, Jarrad Gallagher, Alan Blair and Jenny Shattock.