Funding to put life back in town

David Wilson
David Wilson
Mataura, known mainly for its river and freezing works, could one day become the "town of champions" under a new scheme given a crucial funding boost recently.

The Community Trust of Southland has confirmed a $19,800 grant to allow Oamaru-based facilitator David Wilson time in the Eastern Southland town generating ideas and support to revitalise the main business district and turn around its economy.

The programme aims to encourage residents to become more involved in their community.

In a report to the Mataura Community Board's recent meeting, Mr Wilson said the term "town of champions" came from a planning meeting in the town earlier this year with town leaders and Gore District Council staff.

"It identified Mataura has had many achievers in a wide range of fields over many years and that to utilise this as a theme with rebranding would help inspire and encourage the local community to new activity."

The programme was devised because locals and others saw it was important to turn around the central business area of Bridge St and encourage new uses for the several empty buildings that dot the area.

Mr Wilson will combine two proven programmes used in New Zealand and abroad to inspire locals and others to embrace the scheme.

He is expected to visit the town from this month to December, meeting residents, designing programmes and organising a public meeting.

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