Support bid for growth in region

The Alexandra Business Group presented a petition containing more than 1300 signatures to the Central Otago District Council yesterday calling for more support for economic growth in the region from the council and the Vincent Community Board.

The group called for an "attitudinal shift from the council and staff to restore this area's vibrancy", group spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said.

It was a "dysfunctional system and the council needs to provide leadership and direction", Bruce Davidson, another group spokesman, said.

According to the group, the council made development difficult because of "bureaucratic hurdles" which meant any economic development had "stagnated".

However, Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper pointed out some of the hurdles were imposed by the Government.

"The results of the petition are pretty obvious and we can't ignore that we have some disaffected people from the business sector," Cr Martin McPherson said.

The council agreed to meet the group to discuss the issues and find a way forward.

Mr Davidson said council had "responded well" to the petition.

The petition had signatures from Ranfurly, Omakau, and Roxburgh as well as Alexandra and Clyde, and Mr Davidson said they wanted to "incorporate Cromwell too, to speak for all of Central Otago".

• At the meeting Mr Lepper also said "some time ago at a mayoral forum it was decided to get rid of" Otago Forward, an economic development body. He said the brand would still be used for regional initiatives but the mayoral forum would take over the responsibilities.


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