COUNCILLOR COMMENT - STUART WILSON / $40 MILLION RBP NETWORK FUNDING EXTENSION WELCOMED IN MID CANTERBURY
Councillor Comment - Stuart Wilson What a wonderful response to the three policies and plans we asked for comment on. With over 200 submissions to the Speed Limit Changes, 164 to the Ashburton Domain Development Plan, including 38 to be heard in person; now 134 people have submitted on the Council’s Revenue & Financing Policy with 28 coming in to be heard this week. Of course, changing the way stockwater is charged has sparked a lot of interest in this proposed policy change.
Consultation has been keeping your Councillors busy at the moment.
Councillors have really listened to what the submitters have had to say. Obviously, we cannot please everyone but every submission both written or in person, has been read and considered. This group of
Councillors have tried to achieve the outcome that we feel our residents want regarding the changes bring proposed.
wisely, and it’s a credit to our staff to have planned projects that will be needed for expansion in the future.
It was great news to receive a grant from the Government’s shovel ready project funding for the new Library and Civic Centre. As a district, we don’t usually have the profile to compete with the north of the country where the majority of the population live.
Having received the latest Residents Survey results, it was satisfying to see the outcomes, with the exception being the condition and the maintenance of the roading network. This result is an annual embarrassment, even though roading is the Council’s major item of expenditure.
Also on the topic of Government funding, if we participate in the Three Waters project funding that’s also been announced, it would enable ADC to bring forward some of the future projects we have in the Long Term Plan. It is important to ensure that we spend these grants
With a new five year contract for roading maintenance in the process of being awarded, and having seen the conditions that the contractors will sign up to, I’m sure we would all be disappointed if there isn’t an improvement, especially in pothole repairs.
$40 million RBP Network funding extension welcomed in Mid Canterbury accessing the RBP support as a direct result of COVID-19, so this additional funding will help ensure we have the resources to help those who may not have reached out for support yet. "Trusted advice will be crucial to business survival and success in this 'new normal' environment we are now operating in, and this is particularly so for small businesses," she says. Ms Watson is also encouraging local businesses to think about their longterm sustainability.
The $40 million funding extension announced for the Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network will make a tremendous difference for Mid Canterbury businesses as they navigate the post-COVID-19 environment, Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown says.
Last month (14 July) the Government announced the national business support service, which is jointly funded by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Callaghan Innovation will receive $37.25 million to directly fund professional advisory services and $2.75 million to increase resourcing within the RBP Network. This is in addition to the $15 million invested in March.
Mayor Brown chairs the district's COVID-19 Economic Recovery Advisory Committee and is relieved that more funding is being invested to ensure local businesses can access the professional services and support they need.
The Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber) is one of the Regional Partners for Canterbury. Their specialist Growth Advisors help businesses to identify opportunities and can also connect them with the right training, workshops and mentoring programmes from expert providers.
"COVID-19 has thrust us into the unknown and much of our recovery will rely on businesses being able to adapt and build their capabilities for a changing environment. We can't hope to achieve that without ensuring businesses can turn to the right providers for the right advice when they need it."
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Chamber Chief Executive Leeann Watson says the funding will be invaluable to helping more businesses find the support they need to reposition and recover. "We have already seen a significant increase in the number of businesses
"It's vital that business owners and managers ask for support when they need it, and that doesn't just mean when they are struggling. Now is also the time to try and plan ahead so that you are prepared and can capitalise on new opportunities." Funded COVID-19 support via the RBP Network is available to eligible Mid Canterbury businesses where they can access expert advice on human resources, employee relations and legal; financial and cashflow management; health and wellness; business continuity planning; marketing strategy; and digital enablement strategy. To access COVID-19 support via the RBP Network, contact the region's RBP Advisor, Jason MacRae at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about support services available for businesses, contact the Ashburton District Council Economic Development team at email@example.com.