Dannevirke needs to continue to diversify and grasp opportunities, Canon Tim Delaney says.
Mr Delaney is standing for the Dannevirke Community Board in October's local body elections and said he sees tremendous potential for the town.
"The community board has the big responsibility of helping set the tone for the challenges ahead.
"The fragility of our economy is one of the big challenges we face, especially with the loss of 50 jobs at Godfrey Hirst's Canterbury Spinning mill. So we need to continue to diversify and seize other opportunities.
"The implementation of Horizons Regional Council's One Plan is going to have a huge economic impact too, but oil exploration and the development of windfarms could help to balance things."
Since settling in Dannevirke in 2007, Mr Delaney has been an active member of the community and he chairs the Dannevirke Rotary spring festival committee, is president of the Ruahine Kennel Association and is a member of the Lotteries individuals with disabilities committee.
Formerly the Anglican vicar of Dannevirke Mr Delaney is currently convenor and team leader among Anglicans in the Ruahine region.
"I will be retiring next year and want to devote more time and energy into community building in Dannevirke," he said.
"I believe I have what it takes to contribute positively, yet sensitively, to the opportunities ahead of us."
Mr Delaney said one of the keys to Dannevirke's development is the push to make the town a destination, not a drive through.
"With the new Papatawa highway almost complete we need to grab the chance to make Dannevirke a shopping experience," he said. "We need to attract families for a day out in Dannevirke, with a focus on our Fantasy Cave and a storybook theme."
A new town mascot with a Viking theme will help, he added.