Coast Community Comment - Renee Rooney (December 2020)

16 December 2020
Development West Coast
Although 2020 has been incredibly challenging for all Coasters, there has also been opportunities to explore.

Coast Community Comment

As 2020 draws to a close, reflecting on the past year there’ll be words, phrases and actions that have become part of our everyday life, such as unprecedented, lockdown, alert levels, face masks, Zoom meetings, teddy-bear windows, ISO, essential workers, 1pm briefings, quarantine and tracer app.

2020 has seen us experiencing life during a global pandemic. This massive disruption to life as we knew it, has affected us all. There is no doubt we’re all in this together, however our personal experiences have been very different.

But if there was a place in NZ, or the world, to be in lockdown or live through a global pandemic, the West Coast would be at the top of the list for many.

However that’s not to say we haven’t experienced our fair share of negative impacts to our daily lives and businesses. It’s been a hard time for many businesses, having to hibernate or close their doors permanently, or even let staff go. Decisions like these are never made lightly.

Through lockdown, we realised just how important all our essential services and workers are, and the tremendous contribution they make to our daily lives.

And our West Coast primary sector and industries confirmed how valuable they are to our region – and to NZ’s economy.

While Kiwi’s have been unable to leave NZ for an overseas holiday, it’s certainly created an opportunity for Kiwis to visit their own country. The West Coast has certainly bustled with domestic visitors to our region, enjoying all we have on offer and our fine hospitality. However, the loss of international visitors is continuing to present significant challenges for many, particularly in the Glacier Country.

At DWC, Trustees, the operational team, and advisory board, all knew we had, and continue to have, a big role to play in supporting business to navigate through the various levels of lockdown, now and into the future. Our Region’s economic recovery will remain a focus of DWC for some time to come.

Our focus of ‘Growing Business to Grow the Coast’ and being open-minded to opportunities to distribute funds on projects that will strengthen and support our economy is a priority. Whilst at times we get questioned about of our strategy of maintaining the real value of the Trust Fund, we’ve seen the benefits of this strategy by ensuring there are resources available to assist in times of crisis, such as we have experienced in 2020 through COVID-19 pandemic.

Although 2020 has been incredibly challenging for all Coasters, there has also been opportunities to explore. And there will be plenty more to come through 2021. Wishing all West Coasters a very Merry Christmas, and a safe, sunny and enjoyable holiday period.

Renee Rooney | DWC Chair

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