By Pauline Stewart.
It was the first meeting of the Coromandel Business Association as a properly incorporated society, and it was an ‘all smiles’ night at the Coromandel Bowls Club with a terrific attendance and positive attitude despite a hard past twelve months.
It was not the act of incorporating their Association that brought all the members and interested citizens but the fact that Outward Bound was present to talk to the local business people and the wider community about the plans to establish Outward Bound near Coromandel township.
Simon Graney spoke about how important it was for the future to make Outward Bound accessible to as many New Zealanders as possible.Many New Zealanders can testify as to how an OB course can be a life-changing experience, especially for young people at a formative time in their life. The course builds resilience, confidence, and compassion, and truly changes lives for the better. At a time when young people are feeling at crisis point due to numerous global factors, they need support more than ever to overcome this challenge.no one disagreed; in fact, everyone is excited about the idea, and we’re being made aware of what had to be done for the plans to begin.
The first requirement was land and at this stage, though discussions were being held, the land had not required was not yet in place.
Apart from Coromandel Peninsula being so beautiful and still a wilderness, a major reason why outward Bound had decided on Coromandel was the commitment to make the courses as accessible as possible, and so the new school needs to be closer to Auckland and other significant populations in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Anakiwa (existing site of Outward Bound) is a long way from where most New Zealanders live, and for many students, the distance to the remote Marlborough Sounds school can be financially unattainable. It has been a difficult period for the people of Coromandel township and the settlements north of the township. Businesses are struggling.
Jenny spoke about the new journey of Coromandel Business Association. “We have received funding from Thames Coromandel District Council as part of the recovery relief package and we are very grateful for their support. We have renewed interest in planning events that will not only buoy the spirit of the people but bring people into town. We have talked with Lynda Grant of the Business Association in Whitianga, and we feel encouraged and intend to run similar events to their street festival but at different times, so we can share resources and also invite people to travel around their Peninsula more.” Jenny talked about the many community events that Coromandel ran successfully and intended to grow.
One of the meeting attendees, a local businessman and an ex-Aucklander, Ian Whimp, explained, “For the Coromandel to survive, we need to be actively connected so that we can get fuel and groceries here – we need a plan and infrastructure already in place to enact as soon as these events occur, and they will. We need a blue highway (a boat or ferry to service the needs from Auckland to Coromandel.” This received a lot of positive discussion at the meeting.
Jenny spoke of the way recent slips occurring on the Coromandel to Thames Coast Highway had been cleared promptly ever since Gabrielle and road teams of the council had been exemplary.
All business on that side of the northern peninsula are being invited to join the Coromandel Business Association. “We have kept the cost down and ramped up the level of involvement. If anyone wants to join, the email is: email@example.com.
Caption: Leanne Jeffcoat - Secretary of Coromandel Business Association, Peter James- mussel farmer, Simon Graney - Innovation Director for Outward Bound, Jennifer Ashman - Chairperson of CBA and owner of James and Turner, Kim Radick of Richardsons Real Estate enjoy the discussion and good spirits of the Coromandel Business Association.