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A ‘progress report’ from your Karamea Community Development Coordinator

It has been nearly a year since taking on the role as Karamea Community Development Coordinator.

It seems an appropriate time to give some feed-back to the community regarding my role and progress.

The position (KCDC) came about as a result of feedback from the community regarding its wishes and concerns about some community services, conditions and processes. Items including waste management, environmental care, youth activities, telecommunications, waterways quality, emergency information and so on were perceived by the community as needing addressing.

Based upon that community feedback, Karamea Community Business Limited successfully applied to the Department of Internal Affairs for a grant to employ a person to undertake this work. The Department of Internal Affairs sponsors other community development coordinators around the country. Each one has a slightly different role. Depending on the needs of the communities they serve. My predominant role is to assist with our community’s infrastructures and services

I have listed here just a few of the projects I have been involved in:

Karamea Outdoor & Conservation Academy:

At this juncture applications for financial support toward a feasibility study have been submitted to Development West Coast and Lotteries. As well, Tai Poutini Polytechnic has committed to being the academic ‘umbrella’ partner in this initiative. Facilities have been identified within the community as appropriate and available to house the academy. Chris Auchinvole, our West Coast MP, has been apprised of the project. We now are about to approach a national organisation with the goal of persuading them to become a financial partner in the venture. The sub-committee, in the meantime, continues to work diligently with discussions and paperwork regarding fund-raising and ongoing advocacy.

Youth Initiatives:

‘Kidzfest Karamea’ has been conceived, a twice-a-year holiday programme for Karamea youth. A small committee has been established and early meetings taken place. Programmes to include re-cycled arts, music, games, and physical activities. Parents will be involved. No financial support has yet been pursued but soon will be.

‘CommunityMax’ and ‘JobOps’:

These items have been published in the Chronicle for public consideration. I attended a workshop about these two employment schemes for young people. One involves community projects and the other involves a minimum wage subsidy for employees in regular jobs. I’ve been an advocate for these schemes in our community.

Karamea Community Website:

The website is now operational, as of March 4, 2010. Ongoing construction and design will continue. Consultation has been ongoing with the community. Ethical guidelines, practical routines and editorial policy are completed. I have been on the working group overseeing this development, which is a culmination of considerable volunteer contribution.

Public Forums established for the community:

An ongoing, regular series of public forums has been organised for all sector groups and individuals of the Karamea community to attend. The first Public Forum was held on 20th November. The second forum was held on 4th February 2010. These forums address community issues with specified agendas, eg flood warning systems and a community website were on the first agenda, elderly care and housing were agenda topics for the second forum. Topics for forums come from the meetings and from a long ‘wish list.’

Database of external rate-payers:

About 40% of Karamea’s ratepayers live out of the area. A database of contactable external rate-payers has been established with assistance from the Buller District Council. Written and email correspondence has been established with approximately 25% of our external ratepayers. Non-resident ratepayers will also be able to be informed via the community website.

Karamea Volunteers ‘Thanks’ Day:

A ‘Thank You Brunch’ was held at the Karamea Golf Club and attended by Mayor Pat McManus and CEO Gary Murphy. Dozens of our local volunteers were on hand for the festivities and congratulatory remarks. It is hoped that recognition of our volunteers will be an annual event.

Many collaborative relationships with external agencies are in place and developing.

Agencies include:
-Buller District Council -West Coast District Health Board
-West Coast Regional Council -Canterbury District Health Board
-Carelink -Development West Coast
-W.I.S.E. -Tai Poutini Polytechnic
(West Coast Improving Services for Elderly) -Ngai Tahu

Telecommunications survey for community:

A group of locals is looking at existing and future telecommunications services, and I am involved in this working group. A telecommunications survey for our community is being developed and will be undertaken shortly. I have also investigated the video-teleconferencing facilities that exist in the Karamea Area School.

Waste Management:

I have had meetings with BDC Gary Murphy, Bede Brown and Karl Beaufort on the topic of the Karamea dump and its future use. The Buller District Council has provided some information relevant to the infrastructure costs for Karamea’s dump. I am planning to invite the community to consider further initiatives regarding waste management, with the possibility of forming a joint community/BDC waste management plan.

Health and Well-being of our Seniors

Consultation with the our Karamea Medical Centre, Buller Health Trust, the West Coast District Health Board, Canterbury Health Board, W.I.S.E. and Carelink is underway to provide information and guidance.

A recent Karamea Public Forum also focused on this important community item. Further review into the potential need for additional elderly housing and care support is presently underway. Future meetings will hopefully clarify our community’s requirements and set achievable goals.

-In closing, more help and involvement from the community will assist me in helping you!


Rick Lucas

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