Connection desired, LINK survey finds

Wanaka Link three-question survey organisers  Sophie Ward (left) and Kathy Dedo found Wanaka’s...
Wanaka Link three-question survey organisers Sophie Ward (left) and Kathy Dedo found Wanaka’s environment was what respondents loved the most. Photo: Kerrie Waterworth.
Wanaka residents will have a chance to "connect" with community groups and individuals at the first of the Link  Upper Clutha drop-in sessions this morning.

The idea for the drop-in coffee morning at Cinema Paradiso followed the results of a survey conducted by the central government-supported, locally driven community scheme Link  Upper Clutha, in which respondents said they wanted a more "connected and supportive environment".

Link  facilitator Kathy Dedo said there were already a lot of community-led initiatives in Wanaka but "this was a way we could support them by providing a networking opportunity, a chance for people to meet on a personal level and a chance for community groups to get advice".

In February, Link  launched a three-question survey in which it asked  "What do you love about your community?  What could be even better? and  How could you help?"

Link co-ordinator Sophie Ward said a lack of parking was by far the most commonly expressed concern but a lack of planning in the face of rapid growth and housing affordability were not far behind.

"People are starting to talk about having to leave Wanaka. If you don’t own property what are you meant to do? The cost of housing and the cost of living in Wanaka if you are working and getting paid $20 per hour is very challenging," she said.

Ms Dedo said respondents appeared to welcome the survey as they "felt they were being heard".

People were starting to feel a lack of control with so much development occurring in the town and they wanted to contribute and shape what was happening to their community, she said.

Ms Dedo said the 600 responses were each read and coded and the results presented to the Queenstown Lakes District Council annual plan hearings.

"The intent was to inform and support council in their decision-making as they don’t have the capability at the moment to do the kind of extensive listening that we have been doing."

The results would be presented at a public forum in August at a date yet to be fixed, she said.

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