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Motuekans rate their environment as top strength

April 9th, 2015
[by David Armstrong]

Motueka people say their natural environment and climate is the main strength of the town and area, according to a survey conducted by Vision Motueka during March.

The survey was done through interviews with 35 people chosen to represent a broad range of community leaders, as the first step of the Motueka 2030 project.

Interviewees were asked to list Motueka's main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. These included opinions about the services provided, the environment, the community and its amenities, and the local economy.

Combining the results provides a good sample of opinions, which Vision Motueka will use to conduct an open questionnaire throughout May. The goal is to gain more detail about what residents think about the town and how it could be made stronger in future.

Similar questions are being asked daily on the Motueka 2030 Facebook group (which now has 378 members), and the more informal responses so far are largely in step with the findings below.

Strengths

By far the most people talked about the excellent climate, sunshine (22 people), location near the National parks (17), the natural beauty of the area (16), the beaches (11), the water and the river (10), and the rich land and climate for growing things (4).

The next highest regarded strengths related to the people and the community itself. They spoke of the sense of community, friendly, community spirit (13), the diverse range of people, skills and cultures (12), the many volunteer community groups (11), the quality of the schools (9), walkways and cycling paths (7), and the small size of population (7).

Also scoring well were items related to our main industries - horticulture and other primary industries (15), natural tourist attractions (9), mainly locally owned and operated shops with good variety serving most needs (8), most business and service sectors represented (7), and Talley's (5).

Weaknesses

Fewer comments were listed in this area, probably reflecting that interviewees were more positive than negative in their feelings about Motueka.

The three highest areas of concern were limited employment opportunities, especially for youth (12), lack of a heated indoor swimming pool (12), and lack of organised facilities for youth in the centre of town (10).

Interviewees were also concerned about a range of issues around employment and the business sector. These included too many people working on low wages (6), over-reliance on seasonal workers (6), shops and businesses too reliant on summer trade (4), and lack of training opportunities for young people when they leave school (4).

Other often-mentioned deficiencies included the lack of a central community core facility, focal point or town centre (5), lack of affordable housing (5), slow broadband (5), poor public transport (5), the sewage system (5), noise on High Street (5) and the state of footpaths and roads (5).

Opportunities

There were quite long lists in the "Amenities/Community" and "Economic" areas. Many people have their own list of ideas of what could and should be done to make things better.

Those mentioned several times led with creating added-value businesses to the horticulture and food industries and science (10), developing the Decks Reserve area (or elsewhere) into a community hub or town square (9), promoting Motueka as a place to go also during winter months (8), building a year-round swimming pool (8), and promoting Motueka as a tourist destination rather than just a gateway (7).

Threats

Head and shoulders above the pack here were environmental issues. Leader was rising sea levels (14), global warming and climate change (8), the inability of the stormwater system to handle larger rainfall events (7), and failure of the stopbanks (6).

Community and economic threats were more varied. Those mentioned several time were an ageing population (9), not catering sufficiently for youth and jobs for them (5), and too much dependence on primary industries, tourism and seasonal employment (4).

 



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