What a difference a year makes

The Grey Lynn Business Association began a journey of understanding the particular crossover between community and business.

What it has taught us is that no one person has all the knowledge and all the solutions, but working collectively and collaboratively together we can reach what we believe will be a vastly superior result for us all. It is refreshing to be associated with urban landscape designers who take real care and look for good solutions for everyone involved. There’s been a lot of listening going on and a real willingness to look for solutions which we can all say, yes this is better than what we’ve got at the present time, and for the future will deliver a pleasant environment for us all to live and work in. Now, we accept that not all are comfortable with cycleways and for business it means accepting further disruption, but what we do know is that the solutions evolving accommodate a lot more of our needs than the previous
process delivered.

For GLBA it has presented the most significant opportunity probably in the history of the organisation, and that is to work with some of the world’s best urban centre design strategists to get business bustling. These strategists from First Retail New Zealand work globally but think locally. At the present time they are out there soaking up the history, the data, the information that exists and engaging with the grass roots of what makes Grey Lynn what it is today. If you don’t know where you’ve come from and you don’t know where you are today, you can hardly come up with a sensible design for the Grey Lynn Urban Business Community strategy.

The next phase is much wider engagement with all the businesses in the Grey Lynn/West Lynn precincts to discuss their needs, aspirations and expectations for the area. The information garnered to that point will be shared at our next networking function on 14 June at that very quintessential establishment the RSC in the heart of West Lynn village. We’re hoping at this point that some of the major themes will be emerging can be shared and developed further in a business summit to be scheduled in late June.

What is really critical is we get businesses and leading community advocates really engaging and participating in this process because our future is the sum product of getting the best people, with the best ideas collaborating together. GLBA will act as the facilitator and ultimate guardian of the strategy but presently we don’t pretend to 'own' the best ideas. However, at the end of this three-month period our clear objective is to be able to drive and run a vision which makes business and the community share mutually sustaining goals and objectives. We want the vision and our values to be so inextricably intertwined that we, as always, are distinctly and uniquely Grey Lynn. To put this in some context, for example an idea could be to become a plastic-free suburb as opposed to a few businesses within the district.

In this process of change it’s important to not forget present challenges. These were discussed at last month’s networking drinks at Surrey Hotel. It’s vitally important to ensure these everyday issues are not overlooked. One of the great opportunities we have as a business association is to revitalise the Grey Lynn village. This is occurring but perhaps could be accelerated. We would be really interested from hearing from people with great ideas as to what they would like to see. We know this requires engagement with the building owners, the community and other interested stakeholders. But it’s no good sitting back and saying this is the way it’s always been. It is the time for us all to step up and take ownership.

We have many of the challenges of the inner city but we’re not inner city. We don’t aspire to be something we are not, but we do want to make our community and our businesses reflect the values and vision we all hold. So come on board and join the association at info@glba.co.nz acting collaboratively and together we do have an exciting future ahead of us. With the expertise of First Retail New Zealand on board for the next three months we can do this.
(Jacob Faull and Irene King, Joint Co chairs GLBA)