An emergency meeting of the Tauranga City Council today has approved an application for Crown Infrastructure Partnership (CIP) funding focusing on addressing housing problems and generating jobs.
The funding application for ‘transformational projects’ will be a key part of a three-tiered Tauranga Recovery Plan. This will include shorter-term support for small and medium-sized enterprises and community organisations (in conjunction with the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce and Priority 1); and the evolution of the city’s draft annual plan, which will be influenced both by community submissions and any changes required to address the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic alert level constraints and Government funding support decisions. The recovery plan is currently under development and will be reported to the Council at its planned meeting on 21 April.
Referring to today’s decision, Mayor Tenby Powell said the ‘shovel-ready’ projects included in the CIP application would provide a much-needed, post-lockdown stimulus for the regional economy and deliver sustainable benefits to address many of the city’s ‘pain points’.
“For a number of years now, Tauranga has experienced growing challenges across a range of housing issues – homelessness, affordable housing, inadequate housing and land supply, and the need to transition to a more sustainable urban form. At the same time, we need to deliver a well-functioning transport network that will support our continued growth, provide better multi-modal choices for moving around the city and provide efficient links to and from New Zealand’s biggest port,” he said.
“Significantly, we also have to deliver the infrastructure required by the country’s fastest-growing city, in an environment where our ability to debt-fund investment is severely constrained.”
Mayor Powell said Covid-19 has amplified those issues and created new challenges in providing employment and supporting the business sector – and in particular, small-to-medium size enterprises, which are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy and supply most of the region’s jobs.
“Fortunately, we are well-placed to address those challenges, because we have a range of targeted infrastructure projects which are ready to go, or can get underway in the next 6-12 months. Decisive action is critical and with CIP support, we can launch these initiatives quickly, reboot the economy in the western Bay of Plenty and achieve transformational outcomes that will fast-track our pathway to becoming a more efficient and sustainable city.”
He emphasised that Government funding support was a critical part of the economic stimulus equation, due to the limitation on the council’s ability to raise debt, which has been exacerbated by a predicted drop in 2020/21 revenue of up to 27%, as a result of the pandemic’s economic impacts.
High priority urban growth infrastructure projects included in the CIP funding proposal are:
- Western Corridor – including Tauriko Business Estate and urban growth - $78.5 million. Water, wastewater and multi-modal transport infrastructure to enable a 200 hectare-plus development of the business estate and support the delivery of housing;
- Te Papa Spatial Plan projects - $84.3 million. Multi-modal transportation interventions to support the Housing Choice City Plan changes. These changes will enable higher density, lower-cost housing options, together with investments in high-quality, accessible public transport, urban centres, open spaces and amenities and multi-modal transport network improvements;
- Eastern corridor urban growth & Wairakei town centre infrastructure - $117.3 million. Investment in transport, water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure to enable urban and business development at Te Tumu – subject to a collaborative approach with land owners and co-investment with developers;
- Western stormwater infrastructure - $17.9 million. Investment in stormwater system improvements to address existing issues and prevent future flooding problems;
- Waiari Water Supply Scheme - $117 million. Construction of a new water treatment plant to meet existing and future water demand, together with associated intake works and trunk mains;
- Te Maunga Wastewater outfall pipeline - $25 million. Address asset condition risk and upgrade capacity to meet current and future growth requirements;
- Te Maunga Wastewater bioreactor - $31.9 million. Fast-track wastewater treatment upgrade to meet future needs and enhanced public health and environmental outcomes;
- Memorial Park aquatics and indoor leisure facility - $75 million. Provide sub-regional scale aquatics and recreation facility in Tauranga’s CBD.
Employment-related high priority proposals include:
- Stormwater superpackage - $24.6 million. Fast-track projects to enhance flood protection for public safety and protection of land, buildings and the environment;
- Mt Maunganui and Arataki multi-modal and transport improvements - $19.6 million. Improve safety and take-up of active transport modes (walking and cycling) and public transport, and enhanced access to the Port of Tauranga;
- Wastewater upgrades - $22.8 million. A programme of improvement works across the wastewater network to address capacity constraints and deliver environmental and public health benefits;
- Long Term Plan renewals programme - $31.9 million. Fast-track a range of smaller projects affected by Covid-19 financial impacts;
- Totara Street operational and safety improvements - $10.9 million. Investment in traffic flow improvements and safety enhancements for cyclists and pedestrians.
Mayor Powell said the projects proposed would have to measure-up in a regional and national sense and while Government funding would have to be prioritised, the council believed all of its high priority projects would generate both significant construction and ongoing employment, as well as delivering long-term benefits for the community.
“We are working closely with our regional partners to ensure we land on an economic stimulus package which will deliver the best possible outcomes for people throughout the Bay of Plenty,” he concluded. “Importantly, many of our projects would create opportunities for small and medium-scale businesses to get involved, which would make a significant contribution to our economic and business recovery.”