City's social issues top wishlist

By Rebecca Malcolm

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Addressing some of Rotorua's social issues, such as crime and homelessness, attracting more events to town and getting a K Mart are some of the top items on the wishlist of Rotorua people this year.

While last year's growth was one of the top things people wanted to see, many people this year want social issues such as jobs, crime and homelessness addressed.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said Rotorua had seen an "incredible" year in terms of growth and it was her goal to see that continue in 2016. "It's just incredible and we have to sustain that growth and bring people with us."

Mrs Chadwick said she would like to see more exciting things for the town and more events. "[Last year] was a stellar year but I think there is even more to be done. We are catching up on 10 years of no growth."

She said while she thought Rotorua would see growth this year, they didn't expect it to come so early or at such a rate.

Another focus would be on reducing the number of young people out of work - which was a priority through the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs.

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Darrin Walsh said the chamber would be looking to play a bigger role in business growth and attracting new businesses to town. Mr Walsh said it was about keeping the growth going in the right direction and sustaining it for 12 to 18 months.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay said 2016 would be about making sure the growth continued but it was also an important year to see decisions made around infrastructure - including decisions around the Te Ngae Rd area and Eastern links.

He said while they may not seem like something which needed addressing immediately, the decisions would need to be made this year.

There was the same need to make decisions around the proposed children's health centre and library development, which, he said, needed to be completed this year. It was important to see the rollout of the ultrafast broadband completed, he said.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell said in 2016 he would like to see something done about the empty shops in the central business district and attracting businesses back into town. On a social level, he said working to address poverty was a big challenge, especially around housing and ensuring people were "warm, comfortable and had a roof over their head".

He said he wanted to see a more targeted approach to helping those struggling in the Rotorua district through the whanau ora philosophy, including looking at a targeted street-by-street approach to helping people.

Readers on the Rotorua Daily Post Facebook page were asked to finish the following sentence - "In 2015 I want Rotorua to ... "

In less than a day it had more than 100 responses with popular requests including building a K Mart in Rotorua, more jobs in town and doing something about homelessness.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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