South Canterbury's Hunter Downs irrigation scheme continues
to make progress.
Andrew Fraser, chairman of the company behind the project,
said the capital-raising offer had received ''an excellent
response''. There have been 27,390 shares issued to 151
shareholders, mostly within the potential scheme area - some
60,000ha from Waimate to Otipua.
Hunter Downs Irrigation Ltd has been paid $25 a share as the
first instalment of a $200-per-share total. The offer has
raised more than $680,000 already, which will rise to $5.4
million once all instalments are collected.
Mr Fraser said the first $25 was what the company needed for
the project's next phase, pre-construction work. It also had
contributions from the Ministry for Primary Industries and
''We are heartened by the clear support from the community to
back the project going to the next stage,'' he said.
''This will determine the scheme's viability from a technical
and economic perspective.''
Shareholders and the wider community would be kept informed
during the next two years.
''Future instalment payments two and three will be called if
this initial work confirms a viable scheme,'' Mr Fraser said.
''These payments, up to $200 per share, will provide the
funds for further consenting, land access, constructor
procurement and construction.''
Shareholders included the Timaru and Waimate District
Councils, whose participation as non-landowning shareholders
gave the scheme wide community input, he said.
''With this positive financial support from the region, and
from Meridian, Hunter Downs Development Company Ltd can now
work to finalise the further funding from the Ministry for
Primary Industries' Irrigation Acceleration Fund.''
The scheme has consent to take and use up to 20.5cumecs from
the Waitaki River. If it is shown to be viable, construction
is expected to start late in 2016 and water could be
delivered from the beginning of the 2018-19 season.
- by Sally Brooker