Elevate Ōtaki is commissioning a survey of Ōtaki businesses so it better understands their issues and plans as the expressway edges closer to completion.
More than 70 businesses will be surveyed, from Te Horo through the highway shopping precinct and in the township.
“We know anecdotally what some businesses are doing and how they feel about the expressway, but we we needed to get some concrete evidence of their plans,” says Elevate Ōtaki member Angela Buswell, who is leading the survey project. “The results will help us to more effectively target our work of promoting Ōtaki.
“This is also a project to prompt businesses to look at their customer base now and capture that data before the big change in traffic flow. If they’re doing it already, that’s great.”
The survey will be conducted by Kāpiti Business Projects. It will ask businesses about their current business operations and whether they have or are developing strategies relevant to the expressway arriving.
“We know the expressway to Peka Peka has already had an effect on businesses, and the next stretch of highway to Ōtaki is going to have an even bigger effect,” Angela says.
“However, we don’t have any clear understanding of what businesses think about the expressway. Are they worried by it and plan to move or close down, or are they excited and planning for boom times as more visitors and new locals come to Ōtaki?
“They’re key questions.”
Angela says the survey results will help the group to formulate strategies and projects that will support Ōtaki businesses.
Answers from businesses will be confidential. They will be analysed and presented to Elevate Ōtaki in terms that keep businesses and individuals anonymous, unless they’re happy to be quoted.
Meantime, Elevate Ōtaki has released a new brochure highlighting statistics and key attributes of the town. It was available for the first time at the Elevate Ōtaki stand during the Ōtaki Community Expo on Saturday (September 7). It’s available at the library and some cafe and retail outlets around Ōtaki.
Elevate Ōtaki was established two years ago after Ōtaki Ward councillor James Cootes lobbied NZTA and the Kāpiti Coast District Council for funding. He secured $150,000 each from KCDC and NZTA, which Elevate Ōtaki is using to develop promotional strategies for Ōtaki as the expressway nears.
Ōtaki is the only town on the Kāpiti Coast that has such funding.
Elevate Ōtaki recently commissioned Flightdec to develop an identity for Ōtaki. That work, led by Flightdec director Fraser Carson, who was born and raised in Ōtaki, is near to completion and sign-off, with a launch date to be confirmed.
“I’m excited by the work to date,” says James, who has co-ordinated the project. “What we’ve seen reflects what Flightdec has indentified as the key attributes of Ōtaki.
“Of course, they’re probably well known to many locals and visitors, but they’ve never been effectively encapsulated in an identity that Ōtaki can take to the world.”
James says the identity is not intended to change what is already here; rather to communicate it in a way that is positive and showing that Ōtaki has some strong values that will serve it well in the 21st century.