$25m lift for work in South

There is delight in the South as it gets to enjoy its time in the Provincial Growth Fund limelight, with announcements of contributions to projects across the region totalling nearly $50 million.

The biggest boost is for flood protection, with $25 million to be spent mainly on stopbank upgrades in Southland, many of them related to last year’s floods around Gore.

Another $5 million will go towards four flood protection projects in Otago.

There is $1.85 million to help establish a construction industry jobs "hub" in Dunedin, where people will be "upskilled"for jobs on the new Dunedin Hospital build, and $1.86 million towards setting up a pilot for a shearing and wool handling training programme.

A further $7 million has been approved to go towards the Clutha Community Hub project in Balclutha and $2 million towards a $3.5 million project to strengthen and restore the Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown.

This morning’s news follow a $4 million announcement yesterday for a new library and upgraded sports complex in Gore, and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones is expected to make more announcements when he visits Invercargill today.

The funds for the flood protection work will be distributed to regional councils, and, like the other projects, are expected to create new jobs.

Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell said he was "absolutely delighted".

"There was one or two areas we thought may not have made the cut, the Waiau was one of them and it appears to be back in, so that’s going to be good. It’s going to create a few jobs.

"After the floods earlier this year it will be good to get some of those upgrades done."

Otago Regional Council chairman Andrew Noone said the funding was "terrific" and would boost flood resilience significantly in Otago.

"It will go a long way towards upgrading essential infrastructure, create dozens of jobs in Otago alone, and help our communities adapt to the effects of climate change."

The investment would also stimulate the local economy by introducing millions of dollars in infrastructure spending in the region, which is particularly welcome as Otago worked to recover from the impact of Covid-19.

The major contribution towards the $17 million Clutha Community Hub project was welcomed by Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan.

"This announcement green-lights the project and gives huge impetus to our recovery plan while providing key infrastructure that would have required a huge fundraising effort if not for Government support."

Lakes District Museum director David Clarke said the funding would ensure the Arrowtown museum’s survival.

It would secure 13 fulltime positions and the team would start the building preparation
as soon as consent had been granted, he said.

A contribution towards a new construction industry jobs and skills hub that would support the construction of the new Dunedin Hospital was ‘‘fantastic’’, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said.

Giving people with the opportunity to retrain in a challenging economic climate and ensuring there were enough skilled workers for the hospital rebuild provided benefit on two fronts, he said.

Gore is flooded in February after the Mataura River burst its banks. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Gore is flooded in February after the Mataura River burst its banks. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY

FLOOD PROTECTION WORK
Southland - $25 million
  • Gore town stopbank protection.
  • Mataura town stopbank protection 
  • and upgrade.
  • Boundary Creek stopbank upgrade, 
  • Mataura.
  • Otepuni stopbank upgrade.
  • Stead St Pump Station and stopbank 
  • upgrade, Invercargill.
  • Waiau River flood damage repairs.
  • Waihopai stopbank upgrade, 
  • Invercargill.
  • Waimumu stopbank upgrade.
  • Wyndham stopbank upgrade.
Otago - $5 million:
  • Outram earthworks and culverts.
  • Riverbank Rd, Lower Clutha
  • Robson Lagoon, Balclutha, upgrade.
  • West Taieri contour channel upgrade.
TRAINING PROGRAMMES
  • $1.85 million for Workforce Central Dunedin’s construction industry jobs and skills hub.
  • $1.86 million for the NZ shearing training model. 
COMMUNITY FACILITIES
  • $7 million for Clutha community hub.
  • $2 million for Lakes District Museum, Arrowtown.

- Staff reporters 

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