Publish date: 16/10/2019

The Hurunui District Council (HDC) has appointed a new Business Connector to engage with the local business community.

Vanessa Nelmes, formerly of Hurunui Tourism, started in the new position on August 7, joining the HDC Community Engagement Team.

Vanessa says the role is multi-faceted. “The general gist of the Business Connector role is to connect with our business community here in the Hurunui, get a sense of where things are at for them and feed back into council any suggestions for improvement. 

“I’m also there to connect businesses to other agencies such as Enterprise North Canterbury (ENC) as required, and to work with the businesses if they need support navigating Council.”

The new role was created in order to align with the four community well-being components that have recently been reinstated into the Local Government Act.

Improved communication between local businesses and the council was also highlighted as an opportunity for improvement in the 2017 Amberley Report conducted by ENC.

Miles Dalton of ENC says, “The Amberley Report told us that business owners would like to know what Council is planning, thinking and doing, and also that Council would like a better insight into how businesses are faring. The creation of this role will tick both of those boxes and we look forward to seeing more communication and transparency between the two parties under Vanessa’s guidance.” 

Vanessa has already met with a number of business operators in the district, with the intention to touch base with all of them. However, any business operators who wish to contact Vanessa with concerns or suggestions in the meantime are encouraged to do so.

“It will take me a while to get around our large district to touch base with everyone so I invite business owners to please reach out now if there is something that I can assist with.”

Vanessa is also inviting Hurunui businesses to complete a short online business climate survey which is intended to form a picture of where things are currently at in the district.

The survey can be accessed here:

“My hope in this role is that our local business community develops a strong and robust relationship with Council, that they feel heard by Council and that our business community grows from strength to strength. Ultimately the Hurunui will then be seen as an ideal location to set up new businesses,” says Vanessa.

Businesses wishing to contact Vanessa can do so via email or phone her on 03 314 0057.