The page contains a column written by Mayor Sheryl Mai, reflecting on 2019 and looking to the future of Whangarei.
19/12/2019 2:45 p.m.
This is my final column for 2019, and as such, I’d like to take the opportunity to say congratulations to you all for making it through another busy year.
While I am definitely excited and raring to go in my third term as your Mayor, I am also feeling the weight of a very full year – there’s no doubt a small break is just what’s needed.
There are many of us, however, who don’t take any time off over the festive season.
For some, the holiday period is their busiest work time of the year, so keep in mind those people who are in shift work, who keep our roads and communities safe, who keep our streets clean, who care for our sick and injured, who keep us out of trouble on the water and who keep our busy hospitality industry ticking over.
To them, and to everyone else who is putting in time over the holiday period, I say a special thank you.
Their dedication is noticed and much appreciated by us all. Their hard work ensures that our District continues to operate as it should, and I am sure that their families, friends and colleagues are all supportive of their holiday work schedules.
As we move into 2020, it’s tempting to talk about our vision: not only with regards to hindsight (which is always 20/20) but also looking into the future.
We’ve already completed a variety of projects to enhance the enjoyment of our District (such as the Shared Paths, Pohe Island and Bascule carparks).
The next few years will see the completion of a number of large construction projects around our District, including the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery, with the new Town Basin Park alongside it, a Civic Centre for all our hardworking Council employees, and an upgraded railway connection to Auckland.
We’re also set to celebrate exciting events in the next few years; with the Women’s Rugby World Cup coming to Whangārei in 2021, and cruise ships setting course for Marsden Point in the same year.
Our continued population growth dictates the need for upgraded infrastructure and housing developments, while our rising visitor numbers places new demands on our tourism sector.
There is movement towards a new theatre and a new airport to service our District, and we are welcoming an increasing number of investors into Northland. While this growth needs to be sustainably managed, I do believe we are walking into 2020 with a strong vision for our District and a clear direction for our future. These next years will be exciting for us all.
The councillors and I wish you all a very happy holiday season, and we hope you enjoy the season of laughter and merriment with loved ones around you.