It is important to understand that developing a successful community requires managed growth and a constructive, co-ordinated effort between public-sector organisations and the private sector.
Rotorua is of a size where the community can readily work together to develop and implement creative solutions to our economic and social challenges.
These challenges include:
• Ready-for-use subdivisions – commercial and domestic
• Investment and creation of a dynamic city centre
• Roading infrastructure
• The arrival of the ''environmental age".
• Unemployment, illegal drug use and homelessness.
• More primary industry awareness.
These and other challenges will require a co-ordinated effort that should attract the incoming council's early attention.
New ready-for-use subdivisions
New subdivisions are needed for both residential and industrial development for our city to continue to grow and prosper. Housing shortages are now a national issue and Rotorua is no exception.
Ready-to-use industrial land is in equally short supply. Planning consent complexities are often blamed and will likely be part of the problem. New houses and factories require all the infrastructure that makes them operable, such as water supply, wastewater drainage, sewerage, power.
The private sector needs local and regional government organisations to be solution focused to ensure we can grow.
Investment and creation of a dynamic city centre
Let's set the standard on a global stage and jointly work on three major inner-city developments that set the standard for inner city living and working.
New concepts on living buildings and the mix of inner-city living with work and commerce will create the energy and heart that our tired city centre lacks now.
We would like to see a uniquely Rotorua Māori/timber theme, consistent with Rotorua's position as the country's only bilingual and wood-first city.
We believe new plans are under consideration for a CBD bypass arrangement including transfer of care for some key arterial route from LTSA to RLC and lower inner-city speed limits.
The long-standing congestion on the east and northwest access ways remains unresolved.
Constructing four lanes out to the airport is a significant undertaking that will take time to get under way, but it is needed now.
The north-western Ngongotahā roundabout is a simple slip lane remedy and remains frustrating for motorists and tourists coming in from the northwest at peak traffic hours. We would like to see a concerted and energised council working vigorously with NZTA to make these things happen.
The arrival of the "environmental age"
The world is undergoing a major step change in values, beliefs and market preferences, driven by the arrival of the "environmental age".
This movement includes sustainability, environmental, water and climate-change elements. It represents the biggest shift in consumer markets since the advent of the IT Age.
It is seen by the chamber as an opportunity, not a threat. Private-public partnerships are needed to capture the myriad of business opportunities that will result from this new consumer demand. We want Rotorua to be a leader in this step change and Rotorua is well positioned to do so.
Unemployment, illegal drug usage and homelessness
It is difficult to separate these three items. The problems are long-standing, deeply rooted in our society, our culture, the economy and national politics.
The problems have been a long time in the making and will take a concerted and co-ordinated nationwide effort, to address.
We have been impressed with the way central government agencies and the council have engaged with us to look at preventing perverse incentives and thinking creatively to how we begin the long hard road of fixing this big problem.
It is vital that we build on this momentum.
More primary industry awareness
The three main primary drivers of the Rotorua economy are tourism, forestry and farming.
We need to be deliberate and considerate about supporting all these key industries because they drive the heart of our economy and form the building blocks for industry, employment and wellbeing.
In being deliberate, we need to invest equally in the people, policies and systems that encourage their futures to be more successful than their past.
- Bryce Heard is the Rotorua Business Chamber chief executive.