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Hub, youth training, broadband and swimming pool head survey wishlist

April 11th, 2015
[by David Armstrong]

A central community hub, a youth training centre, better-looking shops, high speed broadband and a covered swimming pool are the five main improvements wanted by Motuekans, according to an initial sample of 40 people.

The questionnaire, which ran through the month of March and consisted of 74 items to be rated from 0 to 5, was conducted by Vision Motueka as the first activity of the "Motueka 2030" programme. (See our earlier story here.)

The interviewees were selected from a diverse range of community and business leaders. The aim was to help create a good set of questions for a big survey which will be open to anyone to take part in during May.

Those interviewed were also asked their opinions as to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that Motueka has and faces. The results of these interviews will be finalised and reported soon.

With such a small sample, no definitive results from the questionnaire can be stated, but they do give some interesting trends, some of which will give cause for thought by our community leaders.

About one-quarter of the items in the list were inserted to gain insight into the attitudes of some typical Motueka people, and the remainder concerned more specific actions or projects that people thought should (or should not) be taken.

[The numbers in these lists came from a weighted rating system: 1 through to 5 for each rating in those columns, with -1 for those rated zero and bonus points for the top seven priorities.]

For those items that could be considered potential projects, the top 12 were:

172 - A community centre (hub) offering a wide range of facilities in one place
169 - Provide a youth-focused workplace training centre
159 - Improve the visual presentation of the town centre
159 - Install high-speed broadband throughout the town and surrounding district
158 - Have a covered aquatic centre in Motueka
152 - A truck by-pass or other heavy vehicle controls
142 - Create a technology and business hub for start-up businesses
134 - Create added-value businesses re existing farming
134 - A more extensive network of walking/bike paths
131 - Organise more activities for youth
131 - Make new housing self-sufficient (power, water)
130 - Improved flood protection (including the stop banks)

The top 12 items of the "attitudinal" questions were:

197 - More employment for local residents and youth
177 - Encourage local innovation and entrepreneurship
161 - Create a much stronger sense of community
150 - Attract more businesses/shops to Motueka
149 - Encourage high-tech businesses/start-ups
143 - More money invested in community facilities
140 - Eliminate/fix any environmental damage
137 - Encourage youth to stay in the area
137 - Less traffic in the CBD section of High Street
136 - Suitable community interventions re the poor
135 - Be more assertive and innovative as a town
130 - Find ways to improve the retailing sector

And the least popular? Here are the 12 lowest rated items:

00 - Don't do anything, Motueka is fine as it is
19 - A shopping Mall, including large retail chains
22 - Increase TDC debt to pay for ward improvements
37 - Attract one or more large retail chains to Motueka
44 - Let the free market dictate ward improvements
46 - Shift the retail centre to Decks Reserve car-park
49 - Build a major visitor attraction (theme park)
50 - Make Motueka known as a retirement area
59 - Commission large public art works
61 - Have time banks, barter system, non-dollar currencies
63 - Edible plant landscaping around town
70 - Improved access to the Flora car park

One item of particular interest was the mixed responses to matters around the role that TDC should play in improvements to Motueka. Many were in favour of Council taking a bigger role, while others thought it best for Motueka to not rely on Council as much as we do.

Many favoured a pool of money ($500,000 was suggested) being allocated by TDC to projects within the Motueka ward, but most of them also said that Motueka people should not pay for them through a special rate.

With another five questionnaires to be returned, the full results and analysis will be viewable on the Motueka 2030 website early next week,


Comment by Jim Butler:
[Posted 12 April 2015]

Oh dear, oh dear. As a person who has been around for almost 90 years, I am entitled to be cynical. Where is the money coming from? There seems to be a lot of people around who still believe in Father Christmas.

Everyone of the 21,000 ratepayers in this District owes some banker, somewhere, about $9000. And is paying that same banker about $450 every year for the privilege. And as well as being one of the most indebted councils in the country, TDC ratepayers are one of the most heavily rated, as anyone with family living in other council areas will know.

And worst still, Motueka with more targeted rates then elsewhere, is the highest rated community in the District. One of the reasons we have so many empty shops.

But I am not going to knock Vision Motueka. Good on them for trying. Some good ideas have come in. Just pick on one and start fundraising for it. And if you have any strength left when you have the first one up and running, start on a second. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Comment by David Armstrong:
[Posted 12 April 2015]

As writer of the article and chair of Vision Motueka, may I just reply to the comments of my good friend Jim. Yes, we know that our resources are quite limited and Vision is certainly not a Father Christmas club. But this Motueka 2030 project is largely to do with exactly what Jim is saying.

The point of this large-scale consultation and information gathering is to find out which possible projects would please and benefit the largest number of people. But it won't be just the one big one that wins out in the end. Some initiatives would need local fundraising, others may not take much cost at all but involve community effort, and yet others will prompt partnerships between businesses, local government and community effort.

For example, the unquestionably strong realisation of the need to cater more for youth employment could prompt our schools, businesses and community leaders to set up a local youth mentoring and skills training facility with or without NMIT. Or the strong desire for faster broadband prompt a group to lobby harder and make applications for supply in this ward.

There are no pre-determined results to the Motueka 2030 project. We just want to find out what the most people want in the long term and why, and then measure up the relative benefits and costs (if any) and let the community decide what next.

Comment by Fran Deech:
[Posted 15 April 2015]

As a resident of Motueka, it is good to see that some dialogue has been initiated re the direction our town will be going over the next 15 years. However, I am extremely concerned to see that goals, visions, plans for Motueka are not going beyond fixing up, making brighter and bigger.

While I applaud the community-spiritedness of wanting youth hubs, community centres - none of this can be considered in disassocation from the overwhelming urgency of recognising that global warming and climate change are a reality. A vision for Motueka needs to extend way beyond 2030 - that's only 15 years away.

In the questionnaire, "eliminate/fix environmental damage" was classified merely as an attitudinal item, and in Potential Projects, only one (improved flood protection) addressed the impacts of the already-experienced increase in intensity of storms and flooding.

When 2030 arrives, I will be 85, but my children and grandchildren will be inheriting the difficulties arising through ignoring that rather than just creating a bigger and brighter town which will attract more tourists, more spending, we need to be laying the ground work for living in a world with drastically reduced access to fossil fuel dependent living

And so it is my hope that Vision Motueka will be willing to factor in to the overall plan the concerns of those of us who feel unrepresented in this projected future for our town.

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