Report from the chair

At last week’s Arrowtown Village Association AGM our chairperson Noel Beggs presented the following report of the AVA’s activities over the last year:

 

Chairman’s Report 2018

It has been pleasing to see the Arrowtown Village Association over the past 12 months continue its long established role as the voice of our community. The AVA has been involved in a large range of notable activities for the year, some of which have included:


The upgrade of our website and instigation of a solid Facebook presence has seen higher awareness of the AVA and its role within the community. 

The website is full of useful information and also features regular blog updates on current issues and happenings. This follows a total redevelopment of the site as a community resource. Visitors to the website have nearly tripled in the last year: up from 536 over the month of October 2017 to 1582 in October of this year.

The use of Facebook to spread timely information on Arrowtown happenings, issues and advice has seen a positive uptake. This time last year the AVA Facebook page had 46 likes. Today it has 400. A range of topical posts have constantly been put on Facebook, notable posts which illustrate the power of this medium have included, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Whitechapel reserve camping hub – We were among the first to neutrally publicise QLDC’s plans and it prompted some very animated conversation on Facebook. The QLDC decision was reversed before the AVA was required to analyse the feedback, but it certainly illustrates the use of this tool.
  • Lake Hayes swimming safety issues over last summer – we were the first (and for a long time the only) ones to publicise this – in this case our Facebook post reach (total number of people who see it) was over 10,000.

Although limited as a communication method within our closer community to those people who use Facebook, this has proved to be a valuable method of not only distributing information but also requesting feedback. As a committee we encourage all the community to not only like us should they use this medium, but also to please sign up as AVA members via our website.

On the AVA’s behalf I would like to give a large thank you to Alison Dench, who the AVA has employed, for her dedicated effort on developing both these mediums.


Changed our membership subscription model to free membership

Our role is to represent the Arrowtown Community and the more of the community we can reach the better this representation. For many of the discussions and submissions we undertake on behalf of the village we require hard data on member numbers to support us. Since free membership was instigated we have approximately doubled our membership numbers to 225 as of today. The challenge going forward for the committee is to keep increasing this membership base. Although Facebook is a fantastic tool for distributing information to the community it is not to be viewed as a substitute for membership.


Regular communication to the community via The Loop publication commenced.

Updates on items relevant to the Arrowtown community are placed in every 2nd issue, which then reaches all mailboxes in the area. This efficient method replaces the past quarterly newsletter format that the AVA distributed independently.


Instigating a regular email update to our registered members.

Although this has been around 2 monthly to date, a challenge for the committee going forward is to ensure timing meets member need.


The adoption of the guardianship role for the Shaping Our Future document by the AVA at the request of the Shaping Our Future group has occurred.

This visioning document for Arrowtown was compiled with large community input over some 3 years and provides powerful statements as to the current aspirations of Arrowtowners. The AVA has used the document intensively over the past year as a reference point for the range of submissions made on behalf of the community, as well as the range of discussions with councils and external bodies including funding applications. We will continue to ensure the Shaping Our Future recommendations are taken forward. I encourage anyone who has not perused the document to do so via our website.


Formalising the AVA administrative role of our sub group, the Arrowtown Wilding Group.

The extremely pleasing view of Tobin’s Face with wilding conifers being removed is a strong indication of the great work being achieved. This is just the start however and the AVA is hopeful of achieving a positive outcome to its current funding applications to continue with phase 1 of the Wilding Strategy in the New Year. The estimated cost of Phase 1 being over $1.5 million. Here’s hoping that the AVA bank accounts will shortly be witnessing transactions of a scale never before seen! ****Central Lakes Trust has today confirmed $600,000 funding****

The work of the Arrowtown Choppers group which organises events to both remove trees but more importantly educate our community about the wilding issue is to be commended. Recently this group was awarded a special Community Award at the NZ Plant Conservation Network Awards… well deserved and well done!

Benjamin Teele will give a short update on the wilding work later in the meeting.


Continued with the facilitation of smart device classes which proved very popular.


Worked towards strengthening an ongoing collaborative relationship with the Arrowtown Promotions and Business Association (APBA).

For matters of mutual interest we firmly believe such a stronger combined voice for Arrowtown is vital. The AVA has provided written support for some APBA initiatives, an example being the CBD heritage lighting project. The AVA committee is however aware that in instances, in our role as the wider voice of the total community, our views will not align with the commercial views of the APBA and we will continue to be conscious of this in all discussions.


The AVA became a signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding for the Mahu Whenua Access Advisory Group.

This is a multi-agency document relating to the various tracks on the large Mahu Whenua QEII covenant area over the leasehold land adjoining Arrowtown. The AVA role will be largely community liaison in the form of information gathering and distribution in regard to the wonderful tracks in the area that the community is privileged to be allowed to use. The call may go out for voluntary input at times in this regard.


Have had on-going discussions with the Otago Regional Council during the past year, including:

  • On behalf of the community we gathered and provided feedback on the Orbus service
  • Watch out over coming months for an intensive Clean Air initiative within and involving the community
  • Ongoing discussions are occurring on how to improve the interface of Bush Creek and the Arrow River area

Made submissions to Council, both QLDC and ORC.

  • On their planning documents (for example Long Term Plans)
  • Representation review process (for retention of our dedicated Arrowtown councillor)
  • Also submitted on high profile notified resource consent applications within Arrowtown which have direct ramifications in terms of the Shaping Our Future report

We have also neutrally but actively encouraged community members to make their own individual submissions on both district-wide and also specific topics or resource consent applications for which they have concern or support.


Pleased to be able to utilise our status and bank accounts to administer the Predator Free Arrowtown income and expenses.

The PFA programme is a fantastic initiative and is ably administered by current AVA committee member Benjamin Teele.


Meals on Wheels are administered under the auspices of the AVA, although community members Colin and Jean MacNicol are to be thanked for the work they do for this …. The committee has little or no input due to their efforts! Colin will give an update later in the meeting.


We were pleased to provide some direct financial support to the 2018 Arrowtown Autumn Festival Quiz night, the increasingly successful Arrowtown Farmers Market as well as funding information signage panels regarding the Wilding Control Work. Any future funding will be focused on emerging community projects.


Sadly one negative for the year was having our AVA donation box, located at the start of Bush Creek, vandalised on 2 occasions…. But in a sign of what a great community we live in local engineers ArcTech stepped up and twice donated repairs, and strengthened it to a mini Fort Knox model, which balanced out the negative with a large positive illustration of our great community, our thanks for that.

It is noteworthy that the vandalism was publicised on our Facebook page and reached 11,000!


Finally I would like to say a big thank you to all of our committee members who have made a valuable contribution to the Arrowtown Village Association this year.

Particular mention and thanks to Sue Anderson, our treasurer and long standing committee member, who moved to Te Anau during the year… your knowledge is missed around the meeting table.

Also a special thank you goes to our deputy chairperson, Martin Barrett, who ably took over chairmanship during my winter absence.

To our ex-officio member – Councillor Scott Stevens, thank you for your valuable contribution as our go-between with Council. It is absolutely vital that we continue to have an Arrowtown based member on council and we appreciate the time you give in attending our AVA meetings. I am sure you would rather be spending time with Emily and Ida!

To the remainder of the committee I express my thanks for your input.

It is hoped some new committee members are elected this evening to share the load over the coming year and at the same time enjoy giving their input on behalf of the entire community.