• Jill Herron

What You Said...results from our Community Snapshot

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

One in ten respondents in our recent survey of the Cromwell community reported being 'severely effected' by the economic fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic. Seventy percent say their income has been reduced in some way - so that's most of us.

It's not all bad news, however, with the majority also reporting an outbreak of caring and neighbourliness, and a strong desire to support 'local' all the way.

The 17-question survey was undertaken by Connect Cromwell in June 2020 not only to learn how people were doing post-pandemic but also to inform on what the Cromwell community wants and needs right now.

Thank-you to everyone that took the time to do it, we really appreciate it.


Being abruptly ordered by the government to stay home for nearly five weeks in late March, was a shock to most but it forced us to spend more time exploring -and appreciating - Cromwell's myriad of walking and cycling routes. This probably accounts in part for the huge number of comments received regarding removal of rubbish, silt and weed from Lake Dunstan and it's shoreline. It seems to be a big issue needing addressed. The Guardians of Lake Dunstan(a volunteer group supported by 28% of respondents) are taking it on and need all the help they can get so join them if you can...


Supporting local businesses was widely urged by many respondents. People want the opportunity to come together, discuss and learn what can be done and collectively find solutions. REAP and the Central Otago District Council are two entities already offering free workshops on well-being and business issues.

These are also helping address what was the single biggest concern noted in our survey - unemployment.


Existing initiatives and events most valued by respondents included the Cromwell Farmers and Craft Market and all of the Cromwell and District Promotion Groups events, especially Light Up Winter and the Fireworks and Street Party at Cromwell Heritage Precinct.

The majority of respondents were pretty keen to add a community Christmas party to the list with 9% even offering either sponsorship or voluntary help to run it!

Our local dog park group were encouraged that 76% of respondents favoured a fenced dog exercise area off Alpha Street. You can follow their journey on facebook @Cromwell Dog Park, NZ.

Suggestions for new initiatives included a Wine and Food event(7 respondents) and live music especially featuring local talent(8 respondents). Other suggestions included a Buddy programme for elderly especially in winter, wellbeing awareness events, cultural events celebrating different ethnicities and Tangata Whenua(3), Night Food Market, Pride Parade, Harvest Festival, Halloween Party(2), Christmas fun day(3), drive-in movies, Chess club, Clothes Swap, theatre, arts(3) plus lake clean-ups(2), a boat parade and inflatable slide in Lake Dunstan in summer.

Respondents were asked to choose and to rank out of 10, the features they most want to see in a new or rebuilt town hall/cultural centre in Cromwell. Cromwell’s current hall was built in 1960 and debate has been ongoing for nearly 20 years on how best to upgrade or replace it. Details for a new facility are currently being worked on as part of the CODC’s Masterplan and Long term Plan. This has been a divisive issue in the town for many years, exacerbated by a lack of consensus and firm decision-making by the Cromwell Community Board.

The highest to lowest scoring features(out of a possible 10) are listed below:

Hall feature Score out of ten

A space for conferences and private functions 7.01

Provision for live theatre 6.77

Meeting room for community groups 6.06

Provision for movie-watching 6.02

Cultural features(war memorial, Chinese, Maori) 5.87

Art Gallery 5.57

Low Impact sport eg. Badminton, table tennis 5.20

A zero score was gained for both Flat Floor Traditional-style Hall space and for Conference Space alone.


On the environmental front people were keen to encourage cycling and walking, again partly by improving lake-edge facilities.

We asked which of a list of initiatives they would most support...

Project % Support

Ban takeaway coffee cups 11%

Ban plastic water bottles 13%

Recycling incentives eg. Repair Cafe 16%

Nurturing of Cottage Industry 9%

Household waste reduction incentives and education 16%

Nurturing town pride eg. Tidiest street competition 15%

Programmes for planting native flora 20%

Suggestions included the introduction of climate change targets for our town with incentives and prizes, lake clean-ups, weed removal, pest/rabbit control at Pisa Moorings area, neighbourhood responsibility for rubbish removal and permaculture community gardens.

Some respondents re-iterated in the comments their wish for a ban on plastic bottles(9), takeaway cups(3) and more native plantings(3).


Respondents were asked which access and other facilities should most be improved around our Greenways and town centre.

Project No. Support

Seating in Greenways 27

Sculpture and Art 22

Edible gardens in the Greenways 22

Edible Gardens in town centre 15

Bike stands, cycle lanes, signage 30

Wheel-friendly ramps and curbing 21

Improvements to the Skatepark 19

Support all of these 27

Additional suggestions for improvements around town included wider footpaths, a pedestrian crossing on Gair Ave for school students, seating around the skatepark and sandpit, more jumps in the skatepark, more cleaning, dog poo containers, more parking(2), complete revamp of McNulty Inlet, sculpture at Cromwell Heritage Precinct.

Here's a few more comments below:

"It would be excellent if Cromwell could finally have a decent, fenced area for our wee people with covered in slides and climbing frames etc. Even Alexandra, Roxburgh, Kurow have one of these! All of our parks have not taken adequate safety measure for our Under 5’s. We have been left well behind the times and have most of our parks or recreation areas next to busy main streets or boat ramps (Pisa Moorings). It’s time to step it up and keep up with Health & Safety please!"

"Having used greenways for years I can’t recount anyone even sitting in the seats that are there already. One thing I would like to see happen is doggie bags provided on the greenways especially on the new cycle track."

"The cycleways that are currently being built are amazing, as are the greenways, but there are dangerous roads that really need cycle lanes to enable a well-connected service. I would recommend at least a cycle lane on Barry Ave, Waenga Drive and Gair Ave. This would vastly improve the safety of cycling in Cromwell."

"Ensure town planning continues to provided for greenways in new subdivisions. They are a fantastic asset to Cromwell."

"I think we have great accessibility and facilities for these things already. I think the more pressing issues are helping the community in current economic climate eg. community vegetable gardens, elderly, young families.

Sculpture around the Town area and Old Cromwell is also a good idea. Not Greenways as likely to be vandalised."


Respondents were asked how they thought Cromwell had dealt with COVID-19 restrictions.

The overwhelming sentiment was that the community came together and showed caring spirit and that people obeyed the rules. Many said having places to go like the walking tracks around the lake edge helped.

Here's some of the 142 comments:

"Fantastic to see so many families out biking, walking and generally enjoying our beautiful environment."

"Close knit aspect of the community, kindness, caring for the community."

"I thought it was fantastic how Cromwell pulled together during the pandemic."

"Great to see some neat initiatives - fruit giveaways etc but sad that lots of these were closed facebook groups which is not welcoming to those who are new to the region like myself or those who are not facebookers."

"Liked that all responded sensibly. Maybe needed more support for elderly - buddy programme. Coordination of those working with the elderly in our community."

"Loved that the situation showed our great community spirit. Loved that neighbours all got to know each other better."

We hope to make this an annual survey, giving the community a chance to have it's say about everything Cromwell-related. Thanks again for supporting people power!

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