Housing opportunities for Thames, tracks and trails updates, and supporting local business: plus more Economic Development news. 21 October 2021 Stay up-to-date with the latest Economic Development projects and initiatives at our Council. Moving ahead on housing acceleration Our $17.5million funding application to unlock housing for Thames has passed the first hurdle and is being considered by Kāinga Ora’s (Government’s Housing Department) Infrastructure Asset Fund (IAF). The project is designed to speed up housing opportunities and unlock infrastructure investment in Thames and surrounds, which has been seriously lagging for decades. If successful the funding will pay for water, waste-water and roading infrastructure to unlock land for urban development to the south of Thames township. A lack of forward planning and investment in infrastructure means that Thames’ housing stock is old, and of low quality – with the average age being around 55 years. This is compounded by the fact that we’re one of the most unaffordable districts to buy a home in New Zealand, and we also have a high proportion of second homes which sit empty most of the year. Housing stock for working families is of low-quality and much older than the NZ average. On the upside there is land, demand and opportunity to build affordable homes in Thames and its surrounds. “Getting through this first round of the Kainga Ora application is testament to the hard work from all our staff – which has been a real team effort with economic development, roading, water and planning teams involved,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. The next step is submitting a Request for Proposal by early December. We look forward to sharing further progress on this. Announcing the Coromandel Trail Collective The Coromandel Trail Collective has now launched, following our most recent Tracks and Trails forum hosted by our Council earlier this year. The Collective is made up of groups from across the Coromandel, including the Whangamata Mountain Bike Club, Ride Coromandel, Tairua-Paunaui Trail managed by the Hikuai District Trust, Bike Mercury Bay and the Thames Mountain Bike Club The Collective has a vision to develop a network of destination trails, tracks and shared pathways that enhances recreational activity across the wider Coromandel. The Collective will support the development and promotion of a full range of cycling, hiking and walking activities that are accessible to everyone. This work involves a large number of dedicated groups of volunteers who are working closely together to connect and promote the full range of options around the Coromandel. Check out our track and trails feature in Our Coromandel 2021 Other tracks and trails news More fantastic tracks and trails news from the Thames Mountain Bike Club (TMBC), which has almost met its funding target for work to improve the Karaka Track. The Track runs from Thames through to Crosbies Hut and the intention is to upgrade it in stages to a shared path for mountain bikers and walkers. TMBC has been granted $40,000 this week from the Pub Charity towards the project, for a total $60,000 in grants received so far, including $20,000 from the Thames Community Board. Once completed, this track will put Thames on the map for local cyclists and those visiting the Coromandel, bringing both economic and social benefits to the town. An upgraded Karaka Track will allow safer and more interesting access into the Coromandel Forest Park. It will also give those riding the Hauraki Rail Tail a little more challenging option to add onto their itinerary, or bring those heading to Coromandel’s new mountain bike park, an option to add to their trip. TMBC is an active member of the recently launched Coromandel Trail Collective. Ride Coromandel secures NZ Round of World Cup Pump Track Qualifier Ride Coromandel Bike Park has announced it will host the World Cup Pump Track Qualifier Event for New Zealand on March 26 - 27 2022. Pump track racing sees riders pitted against each other in a time trial format, using only the features of the track and the turns to gain speed and momentum. Pump tracks are a worldwide success, combining rolling jumps with banked turns, with riders using the track features to gain momentum and attack the track as fast as possible. With times within a fraction of a second of each other, it promises to be an exhilarating experience for athletes and spectators. The Ride Coromandel Bike Park has been a labour of love for the Spirit of Coromandel Trust team. For over ten years they’ve been raising funds for a high-quality bike park to give locals and visitors an active experience of the outdoors and Coromandel’s natural beauty. Summer 2021-2022 will see the whole park open for the first time and The Spirit of Coromandel Trust hopes that a bike club will form to keep the park moving forward. Come and try out the trails and get involved this summer. More information can be found at facebook.com/RideCoromandel Support our local businesses this Labour Weekend We know our towns and businesses will be feeling the impact of fewer visitors this coming Labour weekend, so we are urging anyone who is able to get out and about to shop local. Working within the current COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, our region has a large number of restaurants, bars, market days and other events all going ahead. Julie McMillan from Waiomu Beach Café told us she’s been rolling with the changes as they happen, and appreciates the local support over the last few weeks. “When Auckland went and Hamilton went it was definitely a hit, but we’ve all got to do our bit, so we have adjusted. I’ve always believed you need to be able to contract your business quickly as well as expand it, so we’ve been managing accordingly. “The sunshine is bringing more locals out and we’ve had a lot of locals heading our way on the weekend for a destination ride and meal, that sort of thing, so that’s been awesome.” “We all need to follow the guidelines and do what needs to be done to get some sort of normality back,” she says. You can read about other local producers who would appreciate some Labour Day love, in our magazine. Link to the local products feature page in the magazine. Domestic visitor spending bolsters business Domestic tourists continue to help offset the impacts of COVID-19 in our region, with Destination Coromandel’s Annual Report showing a 28 per cent increase in domestic visitor spend in our region over the past year. Domestic tourism, now our total tourism, generated $387m for the region for the 20/21 period. This helped in no small way to make up for the loss of international visitors and the challenges that flowed from the first lockdown in March/April 2020. The spend figures are based on electronic card transaction records. While the absolute total for domestic spend, including cash and online spending, was a likely record for the Coromandel it was still not able to replace the estimated $100m lost revenue from international visitors. Nonetheless, Destination Coromandel says it remains cautiously optimistic about the future. It points to the success of its inaugural summer campaign, Where Kiwis Holiday, and plans a second iteration over the coming months. The local tourism industry responded strongly to the first campaign, presenting new packages and deals, while other businesses delivered the same product while appealing to a new market. The 1.8 million page views on thecoromandel.com channeled visitors to over 100 travel packages, with 23,000 views direct to these packages. Trust Chair John Sandford also acknowledges the ongoing commitment from our Council as part of its efforts to keep up marketing activity for the region during such an uncertain time. Read the Annual Report 2020 - 2021 Mercury Bay Business Association AGM The Mercury Bay Business Association will hold its AGM on Monday 8 November at 5.30pm Due to Alert Level 2 guidelines the number of attendees will be limited to 100 and the meeting will be held in the Whitianga town hall.