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What is Blackball's community-led development approach?


Location: West Coast
Population: Around 290

Blackball, is a small, historic, coal mining town that has rich social and political roots, nestled on a plateau in the Grey Valley, 24 kilometres north of Greymouth we are the southern gateway to the Paparoa National Park. Blackball is a tight knit and resilient community that has survived and changed significantly through the waves of boom and bust that have characterised a district reliant on extractive industries.

The natural environments that surround Blackball are strong assets, and are a massive part of what characterises Blackball as a community to call home by its residents, and to be in awe of as a visitor. Social diversity and community spirit are strengths and key characteristics that exist in Blackball, and are well highlighted by its 30+ community groups that keep the community buzzing with activity. Another point of strength that characterises Blackball is its enormous resilience. The school was saved from closure in 2004 with community lobbying and protesting. The emergency services (Fire and Ambulance) remain in Blackball through the strength and commitment of its long term volunteers and their outstanding leadership to inspire new volunteers.

The most recent phase in Blackball’s journey has involved the coalescence of many members of its community to form the Blackball Community-led Development Steering Group. The voices heard within this group represent many different stakeholders from within the community. The group have started the process to create a system that works to achieve the community goals.