17 March 2013
Grow Rotorua Ltd (GRL), the new Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) established to lead economic growth across the Rotorua district, made its first 6 months report to Rotorua District Council this week.
Chairman John Green said that while formally established as a CCO from 1 July 2012, GRL has really only been operational since December 2012.
“CEO Francis Pauwels started in the role late November. Subsequently Dr Mark Smith was appointed to the role of commercial technology manager in December, and the intention is to hold the Management Team at just two people for the time being.
“We have made a strong start in identifying projects where GRL could assist economic growth for Rotorua,” said Mr Green.
The CCO has four main target sectors – forestry and wood processing, tourism, agriculture, and geothermal, as well as Te Arawa involvement in commercial activities.
Mr Green said for the tourism industry investigations were underway to assess the potential of the spa, health and wellness sector as a significant growth opportunity for Rotorua.
In the forestry and wood processing sector, investigations were on opportunities for ‘engineered wood products’. They would also look at the possibility of developing a Centre of Forest Industry Innovation based in Rotorua, in conjunction with Scion, Waiariki Institute of Technology and other tertiary institutes.
“Grow Rotorua is in discussions with various organisations onshore and in-market to better understand customer demand, market dynamics and local investment opportunities for the China timber trade, which is currently New Zealand’s largest market for unprocessed logs.
“In the Geothermal sector, first stage work is to collate the resource potential and understand the various uses and economic advantages for geothermal energy, such as industrial processing.
“In the Agricultural sector, the emphasis is on understanding potential land-use change opportunities for the district with a wide lens on the possibilities. This sector will include consideration of horticulture and freshwater aquaculture as well,” said Mr Green.
Grow Rotorua CEO Francis Pauwels said GRL is also required to look at other opportunities from an economic development perspective.
“To date this has included the proposed District Plan and assisting two applications being made to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Infrastructure Fund."