Cromwell & Districts Promotions Group
In this article:Background
Funding for the Cromwell & Districts Promotion Group is considered each year by the Cromwell Community Board at its February ‘Budget’ meeting. As part of the conditions required by the Central Otago District Council’s ‘Grants Policy’, the Group prepares two main reports annually – the ‘Marketing Plan Summary’ and the ‘Annual Report’. The Marketing Plan informs what the Group proposed programme of activities will be for the year and how it is proposed to fund those activities; while the Annual Report informs what actually was undertaken and contains the Audited Financial Reports for the year. Both these reports are available on the website.
The Group is an Incorporated Society and therefore has some restrictions such as: it must be lawful; not make money to be distributed amongst its members; and be in accordance with its rules. Because the Group obtains the bulk of it’s funding from the ‘Central Otago District Council Grant Policy (June 2004)’, it must comply with Council’s requirements, that mostly relate to financial matters. It should also align itself with Council’s policies and respect the objectives and role of the Audit Office and the ‘Local Authorities (Members Interests) Act 1968 in undertaking its business. Note: The Group has previously determined that it should not get involved in any local political issue or resource consent application.
Historically the Promotions Group have been aware that special interest groups within the community may wish to ‘push their own barrow’ when decisions on Group funding are made. The Group was initially incorporated as a combination of the local business and promotions groups with the objectives being ‘overarching’ rather than ‘specifically’ directed to one sector. This eventually led to the formation of the ‘Cromwell Town Centre Committee’ that was given an ‘allocation’ by the Group to undertake its own activities.
Similarly, other interest groups became aware of potential funding sources and the accommodation providers joined together to form ‘Tourism Cromwell’ which basically became an ‘Autonomous society’. Although Tourism Cromwell reported to the Group as a ‘subcommittee’ it was actually totally independent with its own fees, bank account, meetings, website etc. In general terms it was formed so accommodation providers could ‘do their own thing’ such as web advertising and attendance at TRENZ, without compromising the Group’s incorporation objectives.
The general role of the Group is to attract people to visit, stay, play or reside in Cromwell for the benefit and betterment of existing residents and ratepayers. To maintain a healthy community requires that all the town’s facilities are used efficiently and the community is sustainable. This means that the growth of the area should be sufficient to keep everyone employed and the town growing at a rate above national average. Because the biggest source of income for the Group is from the ratepayer, they expect the Group to ensure that the town is an attractive place to live, work, and play in so that their property values are maintained. All this of course is a difficult mandate especially in an economic recession. But, in Cromwell’s case, it is easier because of its location adjacent to the juggernauts of Queenstown and Wanaka. To achieve these aims requires funding and, as always, the Group is constrained by the amount of funding it receives each year. With the Group’s Marketing Plan the aim is to balance the financial ‘wants’ with what is appropriate for a town of this size, in a location it is at, and against a myriad of other funding requests/requirements.
Cromwell’s 1976 population was a static 1000 before the advent of the Clyde Dam construction project. It quickly rose to a peak of 3510 in 1986 with some 1200 workforce required for the scheme and their families. The 1991 Census of 2899 indicated the start of the decline of work associated with Clyde Dam and, with base population projections of about 2500, alarm bells were ringing about where the town was going. Between the 1991 and 1996 census’s the population dropped 3.6%. In essence, Cromwell was expected to return to its former pattern of being primarily a servicing centre for holiday making, tourism, domestic recreation and some retirement households. The principle areas of growth were recognised as domestic tourism and recreational activity, and the servicing of existing households.
This pattern of growth was nothing different expected from other towns of like size. Although it was seen as a comparatively gloomy prediction, it was typical of any small town in the country at that time. Notwithstanding that, the Clyde Dam had left a legacy of a developed town, with ample facilities, capable of easy expansion in the future. In general terms the wastewater and water services were based on population requirements of: permanent residents – 7000; holiday homes – 662; motor camp – 3130; hotel/motel – 241 and day visitors – 467. Total 11,500 maximum projected population.
So where has Cromwell got to today? The late 1980’s saw the start of wine growing and its potential for tourism, while 1994 heralded the completion of the aquatic playground Lake Dunstan, and growth continued unabated at Queenstown with cheaper residential options at Cromwell for workers. Therefore, even though the country has been through at least two recessions since 1994, Cromwell has maintained a steady growth rate and increase in population. Whether that is sustainable (or wanted?) is for the future to decide.
The population (2006 census) of towns similar to Cromwell are:
- Cromwell – 3,585 (2007 estimate 4,080); Cromwell Ward – 4,900.
- Alexandra – 4,827; Vincent Ward – 8,300.
- Queenstown – 10,416 (urban) and 22,956 (rural) – total 33,372.
- Wanaka – 5,037 (urban) and 1971 (rural incl. Hawea, Albert Town, Luggte)) – total 7,008.
- Arrowtown – 2,151.
- Twizel – 1,017. (Population trebles in summer).
- Waimate – 2,836; Waimate District – 7,206.
- Geraldine – 3,500.
- Akaroa – 570.
- Hokitika – 3,078 (urban) and 828 (rural).
- Motueka – 7,125 (urban) and 14,000 rural.
- Martinborough – 1,400.
In simplistic terms the wellbeing of Cromwell over the last 15 or so years has been maintained and increased by its location close to Queenstown and Wanaka, the continuation of the summer fruit industry, the rise of viticulture and winery tourism, holiday makers – crib owners, and a fledgling tourism industry. The latter may be increasing along with increased awareness of Cromwell being the ‘Gateway to Central Otago’ but needs to expand its base if Cromwell is to continue to grow. At present the only real ‘tourist attractions’ are: Highlands Motorsport Park, Goldfields Mining Centre, Cromwell Heritage Precinct, Mrs Jones’ Fruit Stall, Wine Trail, Heliview Flights, Lake Dunstan and The Mall.
In the past the Group has provided all available assistance to private concerns who wished to set up a tourism business in Cromwell. These included The Big Picture, Goldfields Museum Charitable Trust, Big Daddy Tandem Parachuting, Devil’s Creek Arc/Swing, Prawn Farm, Cromwell Motorsport Park. The Motorsport Park is now a huge player, bringing thousands of visitors to Cromwell and boosting local businesses.
In order to increase the population of Cromwell the town will require employment opportunities, as provided by the industrial area. Following the rapid growth over the last decade the industrial area has used Cromwell’s centrality to market itself to large national firms who service both Lakes District and Central Otago. Cromwell has a large amount of industrial space available and, at the present time, has possibly attained a ‘saturated solution’ in terms of activity and expansion. Therefore growth in this sector may slow and decline in the next few years unless a new industrial base is found. That new base may be the Motorsport Park where fresh industries servicing vintage, race and new cars may eventuate. Following on from any new industry will come an increase in residential areas.
The Cromwell Community Board has also assisted with the firming-up of the Cromwell tourist ‘strip’ from Deadman’s Point Bridge to Kawarau Gorge. The Sargood Business development has been designed to attract regional visitors to Cromwell. Businesses such as Nichols Lifestyle Centre, Mitre 10, Southland Farm Machinery, Mitre 10 and Hunting & Fishing all attract visitors from the remainder of Lakes district and Central Otago on the assumption that they may then visit The Mall or other Cromwell business houses. Although Sargood development is nearly complete, the key site on the corner of Sargood Drive and State highway 8B has yet to be taken-up with what should be the ‘coup de grace’ for Cromwell.
Summary for Business Owners - What We Do
The Cromwell & Districts Promotion Group is run by nine volunteer members and employs three contractors. We meet monthly, joined by representatives of the Cromwell Community Board and Tourism Central Otago.
Funding is mainly sourced via the Community Board’s promotional allocation from the Central Otago District Council but also relies on subscriptions.
The group works to attract people to Cromwell to visit and live as well as to enhance the Cromwell lifestyle.
Our focus areas for promotional work are wine and horticulture, outdoor sport and motorsport. Arts and heritage are also important elements.
WHAT WE DO
We produce and distribute the Discover Cromwell and Walk Cromwell brochures as well as advertising and putting out regular stories to media.
We produce a monthly newsletter exclusive to members and send out promotional emails.
We run the Cromwell website which receives around 7500 page views each week.
We share events, news and images through social media to around 10,000 followers weekly.
We own the 5 Summer Series events and run the Fireworks Street Party and Cherry Festival. We help others promote their own events and lend equipment to non-profit organisations.
WHAT DO YOU GET
A business listing on the Cromwell website.
Monthly updates on what is happening in Cromwell with useful business information such as upcoming workshops.
More potential customers through promotional work.
Events for yourselves and visitors to enjoy plus free equipment use and promotional help with your own events.
Contact: Brigitte Tait Ph. 021 764 403