Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Hanging flower baskets to adorn High Street shops

Hanging flower baskets to adorn High Street shops

September 15th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]
Motueka will this summer provide the colourful vista of hanging flower baskets along the High Street retail strip, thanks to an initiative by Our Town Motueka and voluntary assistance of the Rural Fire Network.

At last night's Our Town AGM chairman Howie Timms announced that after a lot of work behind the scenes by a determined group of members the popular beautification project will be ready for the tourist season. (Check out the simulation photos below.)

The Design and Heritage subcommittee, led by Anita Newport, has been working hard to find ways to beautify the Motueka CBD. "Last year the idea of hanging baskets was researched and after discussion with local irrigation professionals, the idea was put aside due to the difficulty of quoting for an irrigation system and issues contacting building owners etc," Anita told Motueka Online.

"This year we have been able to revisit the idea as the local Rural Fire Network have volunteered to water the baskets twice a week, which means we could trial a year of baskets without the expense of irrigation. We would encourage the support of business owners to help water the baskets outside their shops between times to keep baskets looking their best.

"We propose that the first year, baskets could be placed on High Street shop frontages with an estimated 50 baskets. This would be a great start to beautify the town and hope that with business support, we could increase the amount of baskets over an extended area for the following years."

Nelmac, which is responsible for the baskets in the Nelson CBD, is helping with the scheme.

The business promotion group's AGM drew a very good crowd of 28 people - about double that of last year's AGM. Also pleasing was the number of people voluntarily offering their services on the committee, usually a performance involving lots of arm-twisting.

OTM's treasurer John Murphy reported a solid financial position. The group has reserves of $25,311 and liabilities of $6892, and an operating deficit of $3293, which was much stronger than last year.

Manager Jacqui Taylor spoke about the two signature events that Our Town ran last year - the Starlight Parade and the Motueka River Raft Race. Both went very well, especially the raft race given it was a resurrection and a huge amount of work went into the planning behind the scenes.

"I consider that Our Town Motueka does an excellent job of representing its members with minimal resources," said Jacqui. "It is easy sometimes to compare ourselves to other towns and areas believing that we should have what they have or replicate what they do.

"However, I believe that our value and future lies in our environment, our community and our point of difference. What we need to harness is more positive people and willing workers to drive forward."

Before the official part of the AGM, guest speaker Bill Findlater, CEO of Nelson Economic Agency. He summarised the economic scene in the Nelson/Tasman region, saying that as we are and will remain primarily a food producer we are well placed for the future.

He emphasised the need for ongoing market research, particularly in Asia, to ensure we supply what people actually want rather than just what we think people should want. He said our shops and tourism operators need to be more aware of how to please Asian tourists.

He said that 'buying local' should not be the priority in the Nelson region because of our reliance on exports and trading with other nations. And he was enthused by the prospect of the Tasman Cycle Trail. "This one will rival any others in New Zealand, and local entrepreneurs should be looking at ways of taking advantage of this."