The new Puhoi to Warkworth motorway will be finished next year – has your business given any thought to the effect this might have on you?
Will we see a large decrease in visitors because people will now have the option of coming off the motorway and turning left towards the north? What will be the compelling reason for visitors to make the decision to turn right?
How are we going to make Warkworth, Snells Beach and even Matakana the places that people want to visit and stay? Matakana has its vineyards and market, but will that be enough?
We bring in thousands of people when the Kowhai Festival is on, and there are also a lot of out-of-towners here during the July school holidays for the Winter Festival, but we need to work together to build on these events.
Warkworth will have a Sunday market hopefully starting in September, and there is the possibility of another Sunday market also starting close to Warkworth. There must be opportunities around these markets that could also attract visitors to the region.
Both Orewa and Waipu had a noticeable drop in visitors when the motorway bypassed them. I will be talking to both to see what lessons they learned during that time – what worked for them to effect a positive change?
We will have our river dredged later in 2022. I believe this will open up opportunities for us to look at festivals, markets and exhibitions that will attract visitors.
I do believe one thing that is needed if we are to attract people is for shops to be open on those weekends when we are expecting visitors. I do know how difficult this can be for small retailers, and it might mean closing one of the early weekdays to compensate for it.
The Kowhai Festival this year is being held on October 16. It is a Saturday and while the festival will be focused down on the wharf, I believe this date should be a market day. If every retail business had a table outside their premises, we could have buskers out on the street and the town would have a wonderful vibe.
This is a wonderful place to live in and to visit, so let’s not be shy about telling those outside of this region just how amazing it is in both summer and winter. Together we are stronger.
Finally, the One Mahurangi Business Association AGM will be held on August 26. I urge all of our businesses in the BID area to fill out a membership form so that you are eligible to vote. As a BID member there is no membership fee.