$4 million fund inspires creative community ideas
Published on 05 October 2022
A heated swimming pool, beach erosion protection, and an alternative fuel plant are some of the projects Paihia residents say $4.1 million in unallocated funding could be spent on.
A wish-list of more than 20 projects was created during a public meeting held last month to discuss how the council could spend funding previously earmarked for a $13.84 million breakwater and beach restoration project. The council cancelled the project in June after rapidly escalating construction costs had made it unaffordable.
That decision meant that $8 million in COVID-19 Response and Recovery funding was withdrawn by the government, leaving a $5.8 million of proposed Council funding unallocated. Of that sum $1.7 million has been committed to a project to beautify Paihia waterfront in collaboration with the community. The remaining $4.1 million of proposed council funding is currently unallocated.
At the time that the council cancelled the waterfront project, Mayor John Carter asked that a public meeting be held with Paihia residents, mana whenua, and businesses and community leaders to canvass options on how the remaining funds could be spent. That meeting was held on 8 September and was attended by around 150 people.
Some project suggestions borrowed from work previously investigated, such as stormwater mitigation, beach erosion protection, creation of intertidal steps, and the installation of a series of history boards ahead of the 200-year Paihia anniversary. Other suggestions looked beyond Paihia and asked that public transport and roading be improved, that footpaths be built from Te Haumi to Paihia, and that walking and cycling tracks link Haruru to Waimate North.
Recreational options were also popular with suggestions that Bledisloe Domain be upgraded, an indoor sports hub and community centre be built, and that a heated swimming pool be constructed. Buying back land at Puketiti in Ōpua, and building an alternative fuel plant to develop alcohol as an alternative fuel source were also suggested.
The council will consider all the suggestions when it develops the Annual Plan 2023-24.