Elected Life Member in 2009

Life Member Peter Jackson is honoured to join Omaha Beach Community’s fellow life members Malcolm Watson (1997), Bill Freeth (1997), Judith Crooks (2001) and Michael Dow (2009).

He shares their passion for Omaha Beach, the fun, the ambience and the friendships that Omaha Beach has to offer its residents and holidaymakers.

Peter has always lived near water, be it Wellington’s Oriental Bay and Raumati Beach or currently Auckland’s Hobson Bay, and 20 years ago when he and his wife Sally decided on buying a beachside holiday home they cast north, south and west before settling on Omaha Beach. It took a further two years of visiting and staying with friends until they found their own magic waterfront spot in Esme Grove.

They loved the lifestyle, the beach, the pristine rural vistas and the new friendships they made. That was when there were no houses on the estuary side of the spit, sand dunes reached out north from Success Court and south of the Omaha Surf Club was farmland.

Omaha grew and so did Peter and Sally’s “Living and Giving” chain of homeware stores. The business that offered gorgeous homeware and gifts was Sally’s idea and chartered accountant Peter managed the engine-room’ stuff – budgets and bankers, shop fit-outs, leases, computers and so on.

After 10 years of living holiday life to the full at Omaha Beach, Peter decided it was time for some giving. He well remembers how much help Malcolm Watson offered to plant their barren section which now boasts all manner of coastal shrubs and trees.

In 2004 Peter and Sally sold the Living and Giving business and in that year he became a committee member of the then Omaha Beach Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc. In 2005 he was part of an exceptional team of 12 committee members led by President Greg Stenbeck. There were more changes in the following three years than Omaha Beach had experienced in the past 30 or so years, he says.

Firstly came the name change to Omaha Beach Community Inc. that would help bring the newly developed southern Omaha development into the fold, then came a new logo and a new constitution.

Secondly, the existing single colour newsletter was revamped from a few pages to 12 pages in full colour, their new website (www.omahabeach.co.nz) attracts some 4,000 visits per month and membership soared to some 1,200 – nearly 92% of all properties.

Thirdly new security cameras were installed at the entrance to Omaha Beach; in fact, a burglar was bagged within days, filmed while carrying away more than $20,000 worth of goods stolen from a building site.

The area was made much safer for local residents with the involvement of Insite Security and liaison with the Rodney District Council improved dramatically. Thanks to the input of Councillors Penny Webster and Grahame Powell, the committee saw progress with better co-ordinated rubbish day collections (that was a two-year marathon, Peter says), an extension to the causeway bridge and a new cycleway on the causeway.

As a member of the community group representing residents from the new southern side development of Omaha, Peter helped facilitate the merging of that group with the Omaha Beach Community for one Omaha voice. He also noted an anomaly with the rates demand for his south-side property compared with his old Omaha property and a discrepancy in the rate base. With the Rodney District Council’s help, this anomaly was resolved, reducing the total Omaha South rate bill by some $500,000 per year. Some property owners saved more than $1,000 off their annual rate bill!

Again, with the RDC on board and his many years of experience in the retail industry, Peter was able to help the Omaha Beach Golf Club save $23,000 in rates, as well as renegotiate its course rental to save another $75,000 over three years.

When it was discovered that 400 properties in Omaha had incorrect inundation warnings attached to their LIM reports, the team again tackled the council and while this matter has yet to be finally resolved the number has been substantially reduced. The consequences of the Omaha Park Development proposal are near and dear to Peter who puts a high value on Omaha’s pristine rural backdrop. It could become a new community far bigger than the existing Omaha and swamp all it stands for.

Although no longer a committee member, the giving of his time and expertise is not over for Peter. He will continue to help the Omaha Beach Community fight this threat while spending more of his retirement time back with friends, family, the beach and its pristine rural vistas.

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