Coro Chronicle

Columns
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

From small beginnings 16 years ago, Coromandel Independent Living Trust (CILT) has become an integral and much valued part of life in the Coromandel. I was delighted to see CILT mainstay Michael Noonan, who has made such a great contribution to the Trust’s success, recently travelled to the USA on a Winston Churchill Fellowship. Congratulations Michael.

Aquaculture is a significant contributor to our local economy. Coromandel mussels and oysters are famous around New Zealand and internationally. It’s estimated by Aquaculture New Zealand that 24% of national mussel production comes from our waters and that 20% of the oysters harvested nationwide do too. When measured for its value to the national economy, our Coromandel aquaculture sector contributes $77.4 million in GDP to New Zealand’s total economy. It employs hundreds and is very important to Coromandel town itself.

New Zealand has one of the longest coastlines of any nation on the globe so it comes as no surprise that aquaculture has been identified as a key growth industry. With an increasing world population there is a growing international demand for quality food protein. Aquaculture holds great potential.

Already the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has identified it as the fastest growing primary sector in the world.

I’m confident there is plenty of opportunity for further expansion along with the benefits that come from that for both Coromandel town and the entire Peninsula.

For those opportunities to be realised further investment in infrastructure will be required. I’ve been following closely the plans presented by Thames Coromandel District Council for wharf facilities at Sugarloaf and the wider concept plans for Coromandel Harbour development. There is no doubt in my mind that fast ferry access from Auckland would open up the town and our region to economic benefits. The real challenge is how best to accommodate that access and how best to fund the capital investment that would be required.

In the past, access to the Peninsula was only available by water. Road access has been only a relatively recent development in terms of our region’s total history. I’m pleased Council is looking to the future and talking about an issue that has vexed us for years. Solutions are not easy or inexpensive but they are matters we do need to address both as a community and a region.  I know people have a range of ideas and views so please do take the opportunity to engage with Council to express those. Please also never hesitate to touch base with me about issues of concern to you or to let me know your thoughts on Coromandel’s future.