Between running one of Jersey’s oldest businesses, authoring several books and having a family, David Warr rarely gets a moment to slow down.
Describing himself as “totally passionate about this island”, the father-of-two and Managing Director of Cooper & Co has ‘bean’ thinking about five ways he would improve the island if it were up to him.
A local business stalwart and coffee expert, the former Chamber of Commerce President is no stranger to multi-tasking, but now, he has a ‘latte’ ideas about what needs to change in Jersey…
Jersey is populated by extraordinary people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Such though is the dominance of the finance industry that we fail as a society to properly leverage this talent. We could so easily be at the forefront of such technology as tidal energy, organics and developing alternatives to fossil fuel by simply investing in our students’ education.
I’m not talking about a ‘University of Jersey’, but rather sponsoring off-island degree courses with the incentive of researching the key areas on Jersey.
Pictured: David thinks Jersey can afford to be more ambitious when it comes to investing in the young generation of bright minds.
In the age of the internet, physical location is unimportant. However, what does matter is the increasing pressure placed on depleting global resources.
We could be world leaders in researching these key areas and exporting that learning to the rest of the world. We simply lack ambition. That has to change if we are to create the worthwhile jobs of the future and diversify our economy so that people outside of finance can put roots down in our amazing island.
I was looking recently at some old photographs of Jersey in the 1960s when tourism was in its heyday. The effort put into the planting of our public spaces was extraordinary. Yet today we seem to have lost our mojo.
Take a look at the very public planting of the gateway road into St. Helier from Elizabeth Terminal - this is what happens when money overrides the greater desire to reinforce the quality that is ‘brand Jersey’.
Pictured: David says we have "lost our mojo" when it comes to public spaces.
There are areas where displays are still fantastic, but this shouldn’t be down to serendipity, we need an island-wide standard that wows visitors and in turn makes us all feel proud. The visitor economy competes internationally, we need public spaces that are special.
If ever a space is begging to be a world-class sporting facility this is the one. I recently visited Ponds Forge in Sheffield with its Olympic-sized swimming pool and extraordinary training facilities.
It’s a buzzing space and is used by Olympic athletes and club swimmers alike. Why aren’t we thinking about providing facilities of this calibre? The international triathlon event has already demonstrated that Jersey is easy on the eye of TV.
Pictured: With a bit of investment, David thinks Fort Regent could become a "world-class sporting facility".
Great facilities will attract big events. The existing pool building may no longer be fit for purpose, but the space could easily be used for accommodation pods. Every aspect of our economy would benefit. Yes, it will cost money, but to progress you need to invest.
It never ceases to amaze me how many creative people we have on the island, most of whom have to leave Jersey if they are to forge a future in their chosen subject matter. So why aren’t we leveraging this latent talent here in Jersey? In Carcassonne, the yellow circles painted on the castle walls caused quite a stir.
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Pictured: Cooper & Co. has two cafés, one shop and an online business.
Then there’s the summer pavilion on the Serpentine, an annual world-class installation. We have the spaces on Jersey to be really ambitious, the Branchage festival struggled to get established. The annual book festival appears to be making some headway. However usually it’s a dedicated few with very little money who are behind such events. Why don’t we see any strategic thinking by Government in this hugely important area?
The Hospital saga is becoming Jersey’s Brexit! Politically we seem incapable of making a big decision. It’s criminal that a huge resource like the crumbling Victorian building in St. Saviour is allowed to rot away when there is so much need for a state-of-the-art medical facility.
Pictured: "The Hospital saga is becoming Jersey’s Brexit!"
There are surely only a couple of options where a major Hospital can be reasonably located on this island. Most islanders will tell you where that is, let alone a bunch of consultants. It brought to mind that famous line “Caesar fiddled whilst Rome burned” - a commentary of our times if ever there was one!
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