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Six projects get go-ahead to better our community

Saturday 13 August, 2022

Six projects that provide wide benefits for Te Tairāwhiti have been given the go-ahead at a Council meeting yesterday.

They will be paid for with $7.21m of funding now available to Gisborne District Council from the Government. It’s the first payment of a $28.83m Three Waters Better Off Funding package for Tairāwhiti.

All New Zealand councils are receiving an amount as part of the rollout of Three Waters Reform.

To access the $7.21m Council must send a proposal to Government by the end of the month around which projects meet the Government’s criteria to be eligible for this funding.

Partnership with iwi in identifying and deciding the projects is a key requirement of the funding.

In the run-up to yesterday’s decision, Council staff and iwi authority chief executives came together to identify eligible projects.

Each project had to demonstrate it would be an investment in community wellbeing and help position Council for the future.

This includes projects that contribute to a low emissions economy, resilience to climate change, housing developments and/or make our community a better place to live.

The projects decided on are all existing priorities for our community signalled in the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan or as iwi priorities. The funding enables these projects to be brought forward.

Councillors debate at the meeting centred around the tight timeframes, projects chosen and whether acceptance of the funding signalled acceptance of Three Waters Reform.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz said it would be irresponsible for Council not to take part and apply for the first round of funding.

“Over the past 18 months it has been made clear to central Government, through many different forums, that our community was uncomfortable with this process of Three Waters Reform.”

Through a majority vote, the six projects decided on for the funding include:

  • $2.9m to set up systems to separate waste from households so compostable waste can be collected for future conversion to energy. This would reduce the waste trucked from this region to a landfill in Waikato by 26 percent and significantly lower regional greenhouse gas emissions.  Part of the project is to start investigations into a regional facility to process compost waste locally from households and agricultural businesses and convert it into energy
  • $1.5 million for the continuation of the Taruheru cycleway
  • $1m to support marae with infrastructure upgrades to ensure their future sustainability, for example to drinking water, wastewater and renewable energy
  • $810k for solar panels for Kiwa Pools to reduce the ongoing energy costs for the facility and make it more affordable for the community
  • $400k to remediate land on the Turanganui and Waikanae riverbank and restore the mauri of the area. This enables an important partnership project to go ahead -- Hawaiki Turanga, an art piece to represent paramount chief Ruapani from whom many Tairāwhiti people descend and who is an important part of the story of our place
  • and $400k to help communities understand and plan for the future impacts of climate change.

The Government’s Three Waters Reform amalgamates 67 councils around the country into four legal entities from 1 July 2024 for the delivery of drinking water, and stormwater and wastewater services.

The second instalment of this Better Off Funding package will be three times higher with $21.62m available to Council on 1 July 2024.

Mayor Stoltz said to get this first package of projects to Government, Council didn’t have sufficient time to fit in a month of consultation as the Government set down very tight timeframes.

“Projects were chosen that the community had already indicated were priorities and that have already been consulted on.”

However, the second round of funding will have a full community consultation as part of Council’s next Long Term Plan to ensure our residents all have their say about what projects will be considered, said Mayor Stoltz.

For more information on Three Waters Reform visit Department of Internal Affairs or Council’s website.