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Woodville residents provide feedback on gorge closures

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A meeting held this week at the Woodville Stadium attracted a large turnout of local retailers and residents, all concerned with the impact that the current closure of the Manawatu Gorge is having on their businesses and the town.

Facilitated by Woodville Districts’ Vision, the meeting was also attended by councillors Franklin, Hull, Christison and John, as well as Tararua District Council Economic Development and Communications Manager, Mark Maxwell.

Since the closure of the gorge, there has been a marked fall in through traffic, which has seen a corresponding fall in visitor numbers causing growing concern among retailers and locals alike. Latest figures now show only 56.7 percent of traffic is going through Woodville (down from the 70 percent of a few months ago).

Buster Sandford, Asset Engineer Tararua Alliance, says this difference is due to figures only being seven day snapshots that change regularly with each count.

Mark says he was pleased to have been at the meeting to hear people’s concerns and offer suggestions on how Tararua Business Network can help them in the immediate term.

"It was obvious what people saw as a priority was signage. NZ Transport Agency are currently trying to source an electronic sign, and signage will be installed encouraging people to stop in Woodville".

"From next week, businesses that want help or advice will be able to contact Tararua Business Network team member Angela Rule, who will be at the new Tararua i-SITE in Woodville each Monday between 10am- 3pm".

Appointments can be made by emailing Angela at

"We are also going host a panel discussion later this month, which will see us bring in experts to discuss relevant topics like managing cashflows."

Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis says she welcomed everyone’s ideas and had picked up on their immediate priorities.

"We are listening to businesses immediate concerns and welcome all ideas that have been put forward to help Woodville during this very difficult time".

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