Funding boost for infrastructure projects

26 Jul 2022, 10:05 AM

Waitomo District Council has been successful in obtaining funding for three infrastructure projects worth a total of $306,000.

Earlier this year, Council applied for funding for round six of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF) for an upgrade and extension of a walkway by the Mangaokewa Stream through Te Kūiti; improving the signage and storytelling of Motakiora and Brook Park (including a track upgrade); and the installation of toilets on Tokopapa Street in Mōkau.

The funding also includes provision for operational expenses to lessen the ongoing financial impact of ratepayers.

Chief Executive Ben Smit says the allocation of funding is fantastic news for the district, as it means the projects can be completed without having to rely on rates income.

“This is great news for us, and it is welcomed and appreciated. We look forward to implementing these projects for our communities.”

Forming part of the Te Araroa Trail, the walkway along the stream will include upgrading and enhancing the walking trail that starts across from Brook Park and follows the Mangaokewa Stream riverbank through Te Kūiti, with connections to the Te Kūiti township.

Trail development and informational upgrades for Brook Park and Motakiora form the second project and will include cultural and informational signage boards, a short section of track formation, reflectorised track marking, vegetation clearance, fencing, culvert extensions, lighting in key areas and a short bridge.

Mōkau is a high-visitor destination, particularly in the summer months. Installation of a new toilet block on Tokopapa Street is an ideal location as it provides access to the Mōkau estuary and coastline, and is a popular fishing and recreational spot.

The projects also complement Council’s current consultation around Town Concept Plans where it is asking residents to have their say on what they’d like for the future of the district.

“We’re currently seeking feedback on how to spend Central Government’s 3 Waters ‘Better off Funding’ allocation,” says Ben.

“WDC’s funding is worth $14.2m and will enable us to invest in our communities and help them prepare for the future.

“These three projects have been included in our current consultation to enable feedback and discussion. Further funding will also be needed for the Mōkau Toilet project to cover the remaining balance needed.

“There is also potential to expand the walkways projects too, as noted in our engagement document.”

The Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF) provides up to $25 million annually to develop tourism-related infrastructure that supports regions facing pressure from tourism growth.

The allocation of funds is determined by The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and strict criteria must be met, including financial assessments, project management and tourism revenue.