Funding win for key towns
Published on 30 July 2020
Our district is benefitting from significant amounts of funding from the Coalition Government. Much of that is from the Provincial Growth Fund and is earmarked for big-ticket infrastructure projects, such as much-needed water storage schemes, road improvements, forestry and tourism. More recently we have also seen COVID-19 economic stimulus funding for a number of employment, training and community projects. This investment will make it easier to do business here, boost jobs and help our economy weather the COVID-19 global downturn. I know how difficult it can be to get projects like these off the ground, so despite the many challenges we face, I am optimistic about our district’s outlook.
We all like to see big-ticket infrastructure projects, but vibrant communities require all types of investment. In the past week, the Government announced funding for place-making projects in and around our two largest towns. On Monday, more than $14 million was allocated to community and infrastructure projects in Te Hiku. Of that, $7 million will go towards a Council-led project to build a cycle trail and shared path linking Ahipara, Kaitaia, Awanui to Te One Roa A Tohe (90 Mile Beach) and Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga). Ngāti Kurī, Ngāi Takoto, Ngāti Kahu, Te Aupōuri and Te Rarawa will each provide artworks up to 8m tall at the entrance of their towns. Construction will take 18 months and create up to 80 jobs. Wherever possible, we will provide employment opportunities for local iwi, as well as apprentice artists and carvers. We will also look to local companies for materials.
Far North Holdings, our commercial company, also received $1 million towards the cost of upgrading the country’s northern-most public wharf. Pukenui Wharf is a community hub for Houhora Harbour and has a long recreational and commercial history. This will create about 20 jobs. Another $1 million will go towards establishing a multi-purpose recreational and commercial wharf at Unahi near Awanui.
I was also particularly pleased that Monday’s announcement will see Kaitaia-based social services provider, Hē Korowai, receive $1.8 million to develop sites for 24 affordable homes. The project will provide close to 50 jobs, including trade students, tradespeople and support staff.
The previous week our largest town, Kerikeri, received $8 million in funding for recreational amenities. Of this, $3 million was earmarked to improve Kerikeri Domain in line with its Reserve Management Plan, while $2 million will help develop sports fields and facilities at a new site in Waipapa. Another $2.45 million will help redevelop a jetty and boat ramp at Rangitane, while $550,000 will go towards a sculpture commissioned by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rēhia. Designed by Chris Booth, Te Haa o Te Ao (The Breath of the World) aims to raise awareness about climate change. This artwork was originally planned for a Bulls Gorge site on State Highway 10, but will now be erected at Kerikeri roundabout and be maintained by the Council.