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Regional Development – What’s in it for Us?

Would we be the orphan on the edge if we didn’t contribute to regional development?

Regional development is providing the right environment and opportunity for business to stay, to come and to grow in our region.

An opportunity for our children to stay and work in Kapiti

There are some who argue that growth is a negative thing for communities and perpetual growth cannot be sustained. But we need to provide an opportunity for our children to be able to stay and work in Kapiti and if that means growing our local economy then that can only be positive.

Managed growth

Unmanaged growth in our towns can be problematic. It can drive people out or keep them in. It means careful scrutiny of any changes to our district plan and to the environmental values we aspire to. It means making sure our ‘Best Practice’ guidelines are adhered to.

This year KCDC ratepayers contributed $518,246  to “Grow Wellington”, our Regional Development Agency, via our regional rates and every year I have wondered what are we getting for that serious amount of money. What we were doing was gambling with our money in the hope that it would work for Kapiti, that our businesses would survive and grow and that we could provide the right environment to attract new business here.

A centre of excellence in the Wellington Region: green technology

And now we have seen that that gamble has paid off. At the end of July “Grow Wellington” announced an initiative to be sited in Kapiti. Otaki is to become the centre of green technology, courtesy of the work done by Grow Wellington and KCDC staff.

A multimillion dollar opportunity for developing clean technology will now exist when the incubation hub for green technology is opened in Otaki, as a centre of excellence in the Wellington Region.

In 2004/05, The Greater Otaki Vision stated that:
‘the Otaki Industrial area has the potential to take advantage of the ‘new economy’ of technologies and businesses [there is an opportunity] for local businesses and landowners to forge an image and direction for the whole area at the beginning and not ‘after the fact.’. Grow Wellington has taken that vision on board as it worked to provide Kapiti and Otaki with some much needed stimulus for economic growth

Our investment in regional growth is beginning to pay off. It does fit in with the role and function of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, as key members of Grow Wellington.

Whether we should see this as the first step towards a super city is another matter but certainly the collective whole is much more sustainable than the individual parts. Growth can provide much more than jobs. It can stimulate and support libraries, aquatic centres, art centres and other community projects which make our place a better place to live and stay in.