Southland’s mayors and chairman are encouraging businesses and the public to take an interest in the Southland Regional Development Agency (SRDA) proposal that opened for consultation this week.
The SRDA proposal aims to form an organisation that will bring together local government, iwi, and community and business interests to lead regional social and economic development opportunities. It will combine the goals of SoRDS (Southland Regional Development Strategy), and the activities of Venture Southland, including tourism, but will have a wider focus.
The proposal has been agreed to by all Southland councils – Southland Regional (Environment Southland), Invercargill City, Gore District and Southland District. It involves the creation of a council controlled organisation (CCO) with a skills-based board of directors, appointed by the council shareholders. The shareholders will be the province’s four councils who will hold 75% of the shares, with Ngāi Tahu, community and business interests holding the remaining 25% of shares.
Mayoral forum chairman and Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks: “The proposal represents a unique opportunity for Southland to combine its resources to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future.”
Invercargill City Council Mayor Tim Shadbolt: “Winston Churchill once claimed that ‘democracy was the worst system in the world, except for all the others’, and when it comes to requirements for consultation he was certainly correct.”
Southland District Mayor Gary Tong: "They say patience is a virtue. It is good to see the proposal go out to all for comment. A big thank you to those in our communities who were at the coal face of this project, which will bring life to Southland, as we all work together. Thank you all."
Environment Southland Chairman Nicol Horrell: “This is a significant step towards paving the way for a brighter sustainable future for Southland, and I’m looking forward to hearing what the public has to say about the proposal.”
Submissions on the SRDA proposal close at 4.00 pm, 2 October 2017 and hearings will follow.