The first step on what might be a long and challenging journey has been taken with the presentation of the Southland Regional Development Strategy to a host of local business, community and civic leaders in Invers.
The strategy aims to have Southland on a much healthier and prosperous footing over the next ten years. It’s being driven by some of the sharpest brains available in the region.
One might think SoRDS is all about the Southland economy. Although the economy is vitally important, it is the people who are at the heart of the Southland community.
Some of the SoRDS team. Mark O’Connor, Carla Forbes, Anna Stevens, Neil McAra, Tom Campbell and Sarah Brown. Photo: whatsoninvers.nz
Chair of the SoRDS governance group Tom Campbell says “We need enough people, enough activity and interaction to create the buzz that sustains a high quality of social and economic life”
“Despite strong economic growth since 2007 there is continuing local concern about the Southland’s social and economic viability” he said.
Southland Chamber of Commerce president Carla Forbes told the gathering “The SoRDS formula is simple – more people will seek to study, live and work in Southland when perceived negatives such as the tyranny of distance and climate are exceeded by the benefits of jobs, discretionary income, quality of life, lifestyle and environment.”
Chair of the SoRDS governance group Tom Campbell Photo: whatsoninvers.nz
She says “Total live-ability is key to the Southland Regional Development Strategy and for Southland to offer a prosperous future for our young people.
“This innovative strategy initiated by the Mayoral Forum and funded by the four local councils, is about a long term unified approach and leadership to deliver sustainable growth and change.” she said.
Ms Forbes added “SoRDS is a concerted and deliberate strategy to drive our region forward, with committed and active involvement of the Southland business community, addressing economic diversity, total livability and the ambitious goal of 10,000 more people in Southland by 2025”.
That’s just 9 years away. Do-able? SoRDS says Yes!