The Southland District Council has green-lit plans to help create future sustainability and growth on Stewart Island.
Since the Bonamia Ostreae parasite terminated oyster farm production on Stewart Island, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) approached the council to lead a programme of development and consultation around opportunities and future planning for the island.
Over the past five months, independent consultant Sandra James spoke with more than 150 people on the island, engaging them in a future focused project. It was recommended the SDC should endorse the preparation of an investment proposal requesting MBIE support for a financial contribution towards new fit-for-purpose wharves at Ulva Island, Golden Bay and Halfmoon Bay to meet future community needs, and towards a Stewart Island Opportunities Project Leader project.
Southland District Council chief executive Steve Ruru said the council passed the recommendation after some good discussion was had around the table.
"Moving forward we'll now be going along and preparing this business case to put forward to MBIE, see what support we can get."
Mr Ruru said this report had been a "valuable exercise" for the council in learning the range of issues and priorities for the island.
Stewart Island Rakiura Ward councillor Bruce Ford said it was early days yet but the financial support would be a big hand in upgrading the wharves that were in a "very poor state".
"They're a necessity for the tourism industry. We have to have facilities up to scratch."
Mr Ford said the diversity of groups on the island would also benefit from strong leadership.
"We have something like 70 community organisations out of a population of 400, that's quite a lot. Because we're pretty versatile we need someone to draw the strings together."
"We're a busy place and we want to keep busy," he said.