(Apologies to anglers – today’s TRM Daily Report is local Turangi political stuff. Perhaps it might be more entertaining than fishing in the cold blustery conditions over the weekend?)
Following the above post on facebook yesterday TRM commented in reply to Zane Cozen – (who is the local Councillor) below:
Time to check our pulse and embrace the future.
Go Tongariro is requesting funds from Council for an independent feasibility study to be undertaken of our town. Its envisaged that this report will ask hard questions and help guide the community as to what works for us and what doesn’t. What infrastructure we have, need and don’t need? What is our population comprised of? What are our strengths and weaknesses? What are our attributes, demographics, talents etc?
Out of these questions and subsequent discussions will come ideas and then a platform offering scope on growth opportunities.
To me, this is the best thing to happen in terms of economical, social and structural direction for the Southern Lake District in many years.
It is a rare opportunity for us to make detailed plans on our vision for the future of Turangi.
The reaction from Zane is wonderful. Don’t you love small town politics. Immediately anyone who disagrees with his plans are labelled as ‘negative vibe’? We understand…
Anyone who has perused TRM’s Daily Reports for the last ten years would appreciate that we have done more to promote Turangi than any other single entity. We prefer to address the issues and investigate suitable successful precedents rather than revert to name calling… You can decide if that is being ‘negative’?
So? Tourists staying at TRM and local residents (aka ‘rate payers’) read the above article with amusement as the solution is so obvious to everyone except Go Tongariro. It is not rocket science. It is basic fundamental business logic.
Locals suggested the first step should be to retire the ‘chair’ as if he – Wayne Smith – really needs such an economic plan to explain what is wrong then he should hand over the reins to a younger person who does understand. It is that simple.
Turangi is obviously a tourist town. It has only one industry/business. It is called Tourism. To fix the local economy all that is needed is more tourists. To attract them Turangi has to encourage them (that is his job) with suitable tourist attractions – such as bike trails – to compete with other tourist towns. (I hope you can follow this so far Zane? i.e. If your fish & chip shop was struggling all you needed was more customers to make it prosper. OK?)
In case that is too vague, consider some suitable precedents.
Photos of the selected precedent – the Hauraki Bike trail – were taken in 2012 and updated 2016 to illustrate the recent growth and popularity of recreational tourist biking in Paeroa and Waihi – as indicated by the bike racks in front of cafes and council offices.
About five-six years ago on the Hauraki Plains there were several small obsolete rural servicing towns steadily losing their tourist attraction so they developed their own bike trail. They used their initiative to develop a bike trail between the towns of Waihi, Paeroa, and Te Aroha. The rest is history.
Already the original bike trails have been extended to Thames and they are now planning future extensions north towards Auckland via the coast to Kaiaua.
Back then when the first photos were taken their ratio of empty shops – as a visual barometer of their struggling local economy – was about the same as Turangi is now. Now in Paeroa and Waihi there are no empty shops. Now those towns are thriving tourist towns. They even need bike stands outside the cafes and council offices to accommodate and encourage more bikers. A brand new motel has been developed in a region where motels were previously struggling to survive. (Hopefully Wayne should be able to associate with that?)
All you need to do is contact these successful precedents – interview the Mayor and the Council officials and other local officials in their iSites and read their ‘economic impact report’ to realise how simple the ‘economic’ solution is. (If you need names of the key people who made it happen then we can provide these.)
If that is too far away (?) to travel in a day, what about investigating a similar success story in another small tourist town also situated closer on the central plateau – called Ohakune. One small operator runs a successful bike hire and shuttle business from his back-packing accommodation near the station to the start of the Old Coach Road Trail.
Check with them how the bike trail has transformed their business? It only takes a phone call or email to get a ‘hands-on’ economic report with all the ‘positive vibes’. Recreational tourist bikers have changed his business operations to match the demand – from ‘winter only’ accommodation for skiers to a predominantly summer business for bikers. The rest of Ohakune prospers only in winter but his business model was changed to suit the new demand. Note these are tourist tracks – not challenging mountain bike trails. OK?.
There are many others with similar success stories associated with bike trails throughout NZ. Even on the remote Timber Trail the Government are now contributing towards accommodation – midway between Ongarue and Bennydale (Both thriving tourist centres?). Did they need an economic report first? Compare the relative advantages of Turangi’s location. How many precedents do you need?
In the same time span as the Hauraki Rail Trail has been conceived and developed, the Taupo Council have been sitting on the T2T (Taupo to Turangi) Bike Trail concept along the edge of the lake. The feasibility study has been done. The successful precedents are ample proof that the completion of the T2T bike trail, (which has been vigorously promoted by TRM for the last five plus years – so much for ‘negative vibes’?), would fix the economic woes for Turangi. If you really want to ‘invest’ (?) $55,000 on independent ‘Consultants’ then spend it on preparing a Resource Consent Application for our own bike trail. (We can even give you the name of their ‘Consultant’.)
Since then Taupo have confirmed – by their procrastination and delays – that they do not want to encourage tourist growth in Turangi. (i.e. Consider the proposal for a honey processing plant in Turangi?)
They would rather build challenging mountain bike tracks for their local bike club members in remote locations – such as the recent extended Waihaha track. These do not cater for ‘tourists’. Tourists would never find them. Naturally they want it all near Taupo. Consider how many bike trails are located out of Taupo… They want it all. If you lived in Taupo that is perfectly understandable.
So if local progress is to happen, Turangi have to do it themselves. Isn’t that why GoTongariro was formed?. The proposed economic report will not do it for you.
The one proposal everyone agrees on is the likely ‘economic’ success of a bike trail along the edge of Lake Taupo. It is an absolute ‘no-brainer’. It hardly needs any further explanation or an economic SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) report. Just do it!