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Floodwalls to ring Westport and Franz Josef Glacier townships, new bridges and a Greymouth reservoir are among at least $40 million worth of projects being put forward to reboot the West Coast economy after the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown.
The three district councils have been asked to come up with $10 million each of "shovel ready" projects that might be funded by the Government. The West Coast Regional Council alone is applying for $30.5 million.
No-one knows how many jobs will be lost when the economy starts up again, but the region’s leaders are bracing for a hard recession and have worked furiously to come up with the proposals.
The West Coast Regional Council said the plan was to top up existing floodwalls at the glacier township, at a cost of just under $20 million, together with building new walls downstream of the heliport to hook into the Havill wall.
It would work with the NZ Transport Agency, which could possibly lift the Waiho (Waiau) River Bridge, costing an additional $4 million.
"In turn, the works would allow more time for longer-term decision-making," regional council chief executive Michael Meehan said, referring to ongoing debate over whether to move Franz Josef township.
The council is also proposing $2.5 million of river protection in Hokitika.
In Westport, the much-talked-about floodwall scheme is back, this time with a $9.7 million price tag.
Mr Meehan said the main work would be to the south, on the Buller River, though there would be some at the north of the town too, as well as a flood warning system.
In Westport, Mayor Jamie Cleine said Buller District Council staff were working hard to finalise proposals, before submitting them next week to the Government.
Greymouth Mayor Tania Gibson said the district council was looking at sewerage, water, bridges, pensioner housing and a new town reservoir. The projects came in at under $10 million.
In Westland, Mayor Bruce Smith’s staff are looking at mitigating the Fox Glacier landfill, which burst open last year spewing rubbish over riverbed and beach.
It is also looking at water, resealing high-use unsealed roads and adding a footpath programme.
Enhancing the West Coast Wilderness Trail is another proposal, and it may add in Hokitika Airport enhancements and pensioner housing.
The councils had until this week to finalise their bids.
Grey District Council proposals include:
- Replacing the Moonlight Creek bridge: $2.6 million.
- Replacing the Rough River bridge: $5 million.
- Replacing the William Stewart bridge: $5.8 million.
- Combining the Greymouth museum and library: $8.1 million.