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Mercury Bay Business Association Vision Plan.

Suzanne Hansen prepared the presentation report as a member of the Development Vision planning group, 2023 and at their request.

Over their past year, the Mercury Bay Business Association (MBBA), with Lynda Grant and her board have been determined to turn the focus of the organisation into one of true advocacy for business growth and community connectivity for the Mercury Bay. With their Development Vision 2023, the MBBA have developed an aspirational and commercially focused plan to move the Mercury Bay forward in a cohesive way, in partnership with a working group of passionate, local business leaders and curated by volunteers who are newly retired from executive roles.

The Mercury Bay Business Association saw that there was no one organisation or government body who was standing up to drive forward a commercially focused plan to move the Mercury Bay forward and with compelling events over the last year, the time was now for a united front for our region to make sure that we gain the requisite visibility and resources for our community from those in charge. The MBBA saw their organisation, who are the heart of the commercial community in the Bay, as being the ideal vehicle to front such a plan.

Over the last few months, the working group and the MBBA board have been quietly chipping away creating the structure of the plan, but also getting on with advocating on some specific deliveries of that plan to make sure that it wasn’t to be just a high-level pretty document, but a truly working strategy. In Thomas Edison’s words, “a vision without execution is just hallucination”.

The MBBA Development Vision 2023 consists of a high-level set of aspirations or visions, that have been generally agreed on as ways to move our Mercury Bay forward in a positive way. These aspirations have then been detailed down to achievable projects, which are prioritised by how important they are and how viable they are (low hanging fruit) to immediately affect. From there, working committees and subject matter experts have been assigned with clear ownership and deliverables. The plan also has a robust review and governance process, which ensures delivery but also ensures that it is organic and evolving as needed.

Key aspirations of the Development Plan are:

1. Develop (or restore) Assets which encourage and enable people to come, spend and stay in the Mercury Bay. In other words, let’s create and restore the assets that bring people here for multiple day stays. Some examples of this are the repair of the Cathedral Cove track, an iconic draw card for the area. At the same time, let’s continue to build on our Coastal Walkways and develop cycle ways through our multiple forests. Apparently, there is a Coromandel-wide strategy for cycle paths, so let’s advocate to be central to this. Maybe at the same time, reintroduce the K2 and other sporting events.

2. Boost Business. We need to give absentee ratepayers and visitors from neighbouring regions the incentive to make the journey back over the hills to the Mercury Bay for the weekend. One way to do this is to execute on a solid events and promotions cadence which will not only increase visitors but allow Mercury Bay residents opportunities to reconnect and celebrate. Let’s bring back Mercury Bay’s nostalgic beach feel and community vibe. The MBBA have applied for and acquired funding for a robust and predictable calendar of events including the upcoming Matariki Festival, in conjunction with the MB Events Trust. From there we will execute on an almost monthly schedule of community events through to Anniversary weekend 2024, where we will work to replace the lost Greenstone concert with a much wider Food, Wine and Fun Festival.

3. Improve Access to and Within our District – While there has been a lot of anxiety and focus on our roads, we also have need to advocate for other methods of transportation. Currently the MBBA are working on enabling an all-weather runway at the Aero Club, for which the council have promised to chase funding for the feasibility study.

The MBBA also have a project of re-instituting a regular shuttle from Ferry Landing through to Hot Water Beach and surrounds to bring back customers for hospitality and services over there. A plan is in place, and we are working with council to fund a trial.

We have also developed our own version of a roading “wish list” which advocates for improvement much wider that fixing the 25A. Think fixing floodplains, one-lane bridges, blocked culverts and other chronic issues we’ve suffered on our roads for many years. A plan has been muted and is likely to be next on the block.

4. Natural Preservation of our Bay. On the plan, not in progress, but no less strategic, the MBBA are concerned with the security and protection of our beach fronts and vistas. Our coastlines have taken a hammering and being that our tourism is based on our beautiful bay, we need to secure them. However, the MBBA would also like to see a solid plan for the development, access, and beautification for our waterfronts in general.

5. Enhance Quality of Life – The MBBA are focused on the well-being of our community who permanently live in the Mercury Bay. We feel that we should all be working to coordinate better permanent residential services year-round. We have a growing permanent population with changing demographics and, we need to ensure that we continually strive for a higher level of services including year-round hospitality and retail, consistent DHB services, hearty and responsive ambulance and helicopter services and more.

The Mercury Bay Business Association Development Vision 2023 is an aspirational plan, full of initiatives to positively transition the Mercury Bay back into the prosperous seaside community that it is, while also re-connecting residents and businesses. It is also an organic plan which is designed to grow and develop with new ideas and new contributors. The MBBA welcomes any new contributors with new ideas, and we heartily invite you to get involved. For more information please go to our website. https://www.whitianga.

This plan was embargoed until Tuesday, 11 July 2023.

Caption: MBBA Graphics.

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