Canterbury district's ‘shovel ready’ roading package denied Government funding

Photo: File
Photo: File
A Canterbury district has missed out on millions of dollars in Government ‘shovel ready’ projects funding.

The Selwyn district Council’s application for a roading package would have brought forward a range of pavement renewals which had been deferred, as well as upgrade 125km of road in areas across the district.

The work would have spread across the district council’s 2500km maintained roading network and included works on both higher volume arterial roads close to Christchurch and those in the rural areas of the Canterbury Plains serving dairy and other primary production activities.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton said the decision was "very disappointing".

District council asset manager transportation Andrew Mazey said the council did not receive a specific reason for why the proposal was rejected.

“We were told the value of the submitted projects was much greater than the funding available, so some projects were not able to be included,” Mazey said.

The fund received 1924 submissions from across New Zealand and funding was agreed for about 150 projects.

A $13.5 million package that would have brought forward pavement renewals and upgrades to roads...
A $13.5 million package that would have brought forward pavement renewals and upgrades to roads in the district was denied government funding. Photo: Geoff Sloan
However, the proposal the district council submitted to Crown Infrastructure Partners, which is managing the funding, did not include a specific number of jobs the roading package would create.

“Our view at the time was that this project would stimulate the industry at a time of uncertainty, retaining certainty for existing contractor staff and adding new hires where necessary, but the exact number of new hires was not possible to calculate,” said Mazey.

Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones was part of the decision-making process.

“Job creation was one of a number of criteria the applications needed to meet and not the sole consideration,” Jones said.

Sam Broughton.
Sam Broughton.
But Broughton said: “We worked really hard and staff didn’t get their Easter break to meet what was asked for from the Government. It wasn’t something that we entered into lightly.”

Broughton said the council shortened the list of projects down to one they thought was the best fit.

“We thought we had a really strong case that was going to provide jobs, be able to be implemented immediately and help with the response to Covid-19.”

As part of the Government’s response to Covid-19, it asked the public and private infrastructure sector impacted by the pandemic to submit ‘shovel ready’ projects for funding consideration.

 

 

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