MDC Press Release 23 April 2020
A list of 'shovel ready' projects has been submitted by Marlborough District Council to the Government seeking funding.
Deputy Mayor Nadine Taylor, who is chairing The Economic Action Marlborough (TEAM) group says Government support is being sought for 16 projects, most of them in excess of $10m. While the majority of projects submitted to the Government are from the Council, there are a number of major private sector projects in the mix too."
The guidelines from Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP), which is bringing together a list of 'shovel ready' projects for Cabinet ministers, say private sector projects which bring public infrastructure and employment benefits for a region can be considered.
"We are not able to detail the private sector projects yet but they span accommodation, mussel processing and related activities, retirement, supply chain and logistics, with build costs stretching into many tens of millions of dollars," says Councillor Taylor.
"Council is supporting all of these projects. We need all these strands to combine to build Marlborough’s economic recovery – Government, the private sector and Council."
Councillor Taylor says Government assistance is being sought by Council for a range of infrastructure projects which will feed into private sector work and jobs. Some have already been publicly signalled including the District Library and Art Gallery in Blenheim, sewerage, stormwater and water supply upgrades, and the Flaxbourne Irrigation Scheme.
Other Council projects in the 'shovel ready' list to Government include:
Sealing the Croiselles-French Pass Road, estimated at $13.8m, to cater for forestry, aquaculture and tourism expansion
Rehabilitation and sealing of the Waihopai Valley Road (est. cost $13.3m) to cope with a forecast near 6m tonnes of logs over the next 30 years
Constructing the Picton-Kaikoura Whale Trail for cyclists and walkers. This has a budget of $19.5m, nearly half of it to add lanes to existing river bridges from the Wairau to Hapuku rivers.
Expanding the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre ($13.8m), Marlborough’s most popular visitor attraction, which needs to develop its domestic market and capacity to hold events.
"Council is also supporting three projects for Port Marlborough, which is ratepayer owned. The port projects all have substantial benefits to the regional economy and will add jobs both directly and indirectly."
Councillor Taylor says any project costing over $10m will be considered by CIP; those that fall below that threshold will be assessed by the officials managing the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).
"One of our ‘shovel ready’ list that will go to the PGF is the initiative by the Marlborough Research Centre, which is already engaged with officials seeking support to provide accommodation, laboratories and open access areas at the Bragato Research Institute and NMIT campus."
Government officials are expected to provide their recommendations to the Cabinet on larger and smaller 'shovel ready' projects next month.
Nadine Taylor says the Council had a Zoom meeting with Marlborough’s civil construction sector last Friday and outlined a proposal to make the contracting process easier for them, including a proposed increase from $250,000 to $1 million before a full tender process is required. The proposal was considered by the Audit and Risk Sub-Committee yesterday. Contractors will still need to demonstrate price competitiveness and the attributes to complete the works to a good quality and to timetable.
"While I think we all know that unfortunately not every business and job in Marlborough can be saved, the Council is pulling out all the stops it can to assist in Marlborough’s economic recovery so we can keep as many people as possible in work."
TEAM group, which brings together key industry sectors, iwi, Council and Government representatives to coordinate the region’s recovery, held its second meeting yesterday (22 April) towards developing Marlborough's initial economic recovery plan, for release in mid-May.