Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce submission on the Nelson Tasman Future Development Strategy

February 2019

Introduction

This submission is made on behalf of the members of the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has approximately 500 members in Nelson and Tasman. This submission is based on current and long-held views of our members obtained through a series of surveys run by the Chamber, and by asking members directly for their views on this strategy.

As the independent voice for business in the region, the Chamber’s role is help members unlock their vitality by advocating for the right economic settings to enable them to grow their businesses.

The submission on future development is based on several factors important to the chamber;

  • An effective local government.
  • Adequate infrastructure to support current needs and for future developments.
  • Preservation of natural landscape.

Submission

 Which of the following are most important to the Chamber in considering urban settlement and growth in the region? Please select your top five:

  • An effective local government.
  • Preservation of natural landscapes.
  • Better road/transportation connections.
  • Ensuring that new development does not place people at risk from natural hazards, like flooding.
  • Smart infrastructure/technology enabled.

Further commentary:

The Chamber is positive about the projected future growth of the region, as it represents opportunities for our members. However, we know that our members have long held concerns over inadequate infrastructure (transport and the Waimea Dam) so any future growth plans would need to be supported by upgraded and new infrastructure to cope with increased demand.

Attracting new businesses to the region is an important part of economic growth, and good transport infrastructure is an important factor when considering doing business in a region. We know that existing constraints on the transport network have led to delays affecting freight, tourism, business and residential growth. An increasing number of extreme weather events have shown the vulnerability of SH6 and its susceptibility to closure.

We also know our members want to see our natural resources protected and enhanced, particularly the foreshore and marina, and high-quality productive land in Tasman.

Finally, we also know many of our members struggle to attract staff, particularly young people, due to the perception around career opportunities and progression and ‘sunshine wages’. If housing is unaffordable this will also be a factor in whether someone decides to relocate to Nelson Tasman.

Growth scenarios

  1. Should the Councils focus on growth on the outskirts of existing urban areas and settlements? Why or why not?

The Chamber is supportive of growth on the outskirts of existing urban areas and settlements provided there is already adequate or planned infrastructure in place. Too much urban sprawl will add to network congestion and pressure on infrastructure.

The Chamber is of the view there should be no new growth in areas already vulnerable to extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

  1. Should the Councils focus growth in and around existing centers? Why or why not?

 This is the Chamber’s preferred approach for managing growth from the perspective of making it easier to do business for our members.

Infill housing, town houses and terrace housing provides a range of living accommodation, and could help to address affordability, helping to attract more skilled workers to the region. It also avoids too much urban sprawl and network congestion, helping the region’s many primary industries get their goods to market more efficiently along transport corridors. The Chamber fully supports the sentiment that the economic wellbeing and safety of the region’s residents is dependent on an efficient and effective transport network.

Our members have also expressed a desire to see a vibrant Nelson CBD. This can be assisted by focusing growth in and around Nelson City, and intensifying accommodation in the town center, encouraging people to live and work nearby. It will also assist the retail and hospitality industries with more people choosing to do business in the CBD as a matter of convenience.

The Chamber supports this option provided the Councils ensure ageing infrastructure is upgraded and can cope with increased demand in existing centers.

  1. Should the Councils focus growth in new settlements? Why or why not?

This is the Chamber’s least preferred option. Our concern with creating new townships or settlements is the impact on our natural environment, and the potential removal of highly productive land in favour of new development.

As per the response to the previous growth scenarios, the Chamber is concerned about the impact on transport networks and the substantial investment required to create adequate services and infrastructure to support new settlements.

The Chamber is of the view that creating new settlements is unnecessary when there are existing areas that can be better utilised for residential and business growth.

Summary

The Chamber supports the approach of focusing growth in and around existing settlements, and in principal supports growth on the outskirts of existing settlements provided there will be adequate transport networks and development infrastructure to cope with the additional growth.

The Chamber would be interested in sharing with its members how both Councils intend to work together to manage the growth, the investment required in infrastructure and the congestion in and out of their respective jurisdictions.

Ru Collin

Acting Chief Executive.

Jan 2019.