Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ged Casey hopes 2015 will see business people and bureaucrats break all the rules and make things happen for the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

As well as more jobs and more industry, the one thing topping many wishlists for 2015 is progress within our region.

“I would like to see people refuse to accept no as an answer,” Mr Casey said. “Instead of saying ‘okay’ to ‘it can’t happen’, I want them to ask why.”

Mr Casey said he hoped to see a strategy encouraging businesses to grow.

“During the summer I’ve heard what an amazing place our town is and I continue to ask myself why more people don’t come and live here.

“Perhaps if we have a focus on delivering technology for ultra-fast broadband and the ability to connect globally, they might,” Mr Casey said.

Kawerau Mayor Malcolm Campbell hopes 2015 brings more more jobs and new industry.

three towns will benefit the region as a whole.”

Mr Campbell said nobody else nationally was overly worried about the Eastern Bay of Plenty and believes we need to start looking after ourselves.

Opotiki Mayor John Forbes said he hoped to see progress with the mussel farm and harbour entrance.

“I also believe there are some real issues within the region, especially with our young people, and I would love to see some real work being done on those issues,” Mr Forbes said.

We also went online and asked our Facebook friends what they would like to see in the Eastern Bay in 2015. Here’s what they had to say:

¦Seeing the beginning of population increase from the booming economy thanks to growth in our primary industries. All of the various groups who work in the area of economic development start working together because they realise that their egos are less important than the growth of the region.

¦To have a newly renovated skatepark in Whakatane.

¦Be a place people can visit without any intimidation from gang members and their drug culture as that sort of behaviour keeps potential visitors/tourists away.

¦To have a bigger play area with skatepark for the children. More jobs. Night market to start like Tauranga. Get a Carl’s Jr built as well.

¦Less negative, more positive for the people. And making it a safe for the people in Whakatane.

¦More jobs for local people and maybe more training. ¦Subsidised solar power options for homeowners with interest-free loans that get added to your rates. We are the sunshine capital of New Zealand, are we not? Let’s use it.

¦Get itself on the map more. I live on the Gold Coast and have many friends that are travelling to New Zealand for a holiday. I always say you must go to Whakatane and it’s always the same question: “Where’s that?” I try to encourage them to go across to the Eastern Bay and always push White Island as well.

¦Have an efficient and reliable airline operating a regular service between Whakatane and Auckland … and maybe Wellington.

¦Remain almost the same with small improvements to continue to encourage tourism. The free parking everywhere, lack of traffic lights and jams add to the charm of the place. The worst thing that could happen is for growth on a Tauranga scale.

¦Sustainable employment for more people, safer streets after dark, engaged youth (employed or in education – not idle) and a drop in rates.
¦Have cheaper land and decent technical jobs.

– Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne could not be reached for comment. Background photo supplied by Whakatane District Council.

Whakatane News