Getting to know Development West Coast

13 July 2022
Renee Rooney
Community Comment by Development West Coast Chair Renee Rooney.

I’m regularly asked about Development West Coast (DWC), how it came about, and what we can or can’t do. I’m always happy to talk about what an asset the Trust Fund is to our Region, how this fund is utilised and how it can benefit Coasters now and into the future. And I also don’t shy away when challenged about projects or investments that haven’t gone so well, or why some applications for funding are turned down by DWC.

It is vital that DWC is accountable, and is transparent. Communicating better the work DWC does, and telling the story behind the numbers is something Trustees have been working hard on in recent years.

DWC is a Charitable Trust and operates within a Trust Deed. Having this status may be seen by some as restrictive, but in reality we actually have a broad scope to support business and community here on the Coast. People are often surprised at the wide range of work the Trust does, and where our financial support goes. Check out our website – it’s definitely worth taking a look at.

It’s no secret that globally we are in unsettled times, and a recession is looming. Just like all other organisations and businesses, DWC has an annual operating budget, and we track our costs and spend. We also closely monitor our investment fund which provides income for DWC’s work. The performance of the fund over the last two years during the Covid-19 pandemic has at times surprised us. But what impact a recession will have on the fund remains to be seen, and we are keeping our eyes and ears wide open.

But as we all know, regardless of a looming recession and dealing with Covid-19 disruptions, we all have to get on with things. DWC continues to focus on Growing Business to Grow the Coast.

Recent commercial loans from DWC have helped the West Coast Pie Company open a new bakery in Westport; enabled Homebuilders West Coast Trust to purchase a new building after the previous one was flood damaged; and helped transition the Rough and Tumble Bush Lodge into West Coast ownership and maintain local employment.

Some recent distributions from DWC include support to the West Coast Pie Company (to help open a new bakery in Westport), Homebuilders West Coast Trust purchase a new building after previous one was flood damaged), and to Rough and Tumble Lodge (to transition ownership to the West Coast and maintain local jobs).

We have many projects on the boil, and we’re collaborating and working in partnership with others. Some of these projects are commercially sensitive at this stage, but in time they will become public.

It’s great to see work from the February launched 2022 Te Whanaketanga Te Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Strategy 2050 well and truly underway - many hands make light work, and I like so many look forward to seeing positive outcomes for Coasters from this ongoing strategy work.

Finally, I want to update Coasters on a change at the Trustee table. At the end of June, we said farewell to our Deputy Chair, Dame Julie Christie. Julie is a well-known West Coaster and it’s been an absolute honour to have her at the Trustee table for the past five years. We thank and acknowledge Julie for the huge contribution she has made to DWC and West Coast region. To fill the vacancy for this Appointed Trustee position, the appointments panel has selected Greymouth raised Sam MacDonald to the role for a three year term.

Renee Rooney.JPG

West Coast

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