Changes are in store

Source : AMY McGILLIVRAY – East And Bays Courier

Photo: Fiona Goodall/East & Bays Courier. Remuera Business Association manager Laura Carr right and new chairman Scott Dargaville.

NEW blood in the Remuera Business Association has members hoping the drama of the past few months is well behind them.

Scott Dargaville was appointed interim chairman of the association when Lauren Jackson stepped down last month, and Laura Carr was hired as manager in March after a dispute over rebranding drove previous manager Victoria McArthur to resign.

Hedgerow owner Sarah Clark, Elise Harper of Poppies Remuera bookstore and Quay Law’s Ian Mellett have been appointed new association committee members.

A new chairperson will be voted in at the AGM in September.

Mr Dargaville, owner of Remuera Gallery, is excited about the direction the association is headed in.

“A lot of it’s been about letting people have their say. I think all the past problems are behind us.”

The association is planning to set up sub-committees such as marketing, security and business mix to increase their effectiveness.

Efforts to advertise Remuera as a destination and organise a bus service to get tourists to the area are other priorities.

New committee member Sarah Clark is concerned about the branding and the direction the association was headed in.

“I’m interested in getting the community back to being a cohesive, happy group. I want to get in and make some changes.”

Mr Dargaville is also looking to get everyone back on board after the branding disagreements.

The old Remuera crest was last year replaced by a new brand that reads “Remuera, Take Another Look” in white letters on an orange background.

Bob and Lyn Bilkey, owners of Bilkey & Co Jewellers and Browns clothing and coffee shops, were among a group of business owners who opposed the new branding which they feel looks “cheap”.

More than 100 business owners signed a survey saying they were not happy with the new brand and preferred the old one.

The Bilkeys, who questioned the cost of the new brand and demanded to be told what the business association’s money was being spent on, were expelled from the group by an executive committee vote in December.

Plaques featuring the old Remuera brand were removed but there is talk of putting them back up in an effort to “mend some bridges”.

“I’d like to put them back on the wall as a sign of good faith,” Mr Dargaville says.

He says there is widespread support for getting the Bilkeys “back on board” but he is unsure about the process for their reinstatement.

Mr Dargaville supports the new brand, saying it is “colourful and bright” but he is open to making changes if necessary.

Ms Carr says feedback on the branding will be sought from customers and businesses but she does not think it is a good idea to “start chopping and changing”.