Bay infrastructure fund hotly contested

By Staff reporter

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A fund set up to kick-start the development of major infrastructure projects in the Bay of Plenty is likely to be hotly contested when applications open next month.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Regional Infrastructure Fund opens on November 7 for formal applications.

In the expressions of interest phase of the project, the council received 47 submissions, requesting approximately $250 million from the fund.

This was well over the $38 million set aside by the council in its Ten Year Plan 2012-2022, available over nine years, for projects that promote sustainable regional economic growth, or promote environmental protection and enhancement that supports sustainable regional economic development.

The Regional Council's general manager strategy Fiona McTavish said following the recent expressions of interest process to assess interest in the fund, it was obvious that demand was likely to outweigh the amount of funding that will be applied for.

"Council received 47 expressions of interest in the fund, requesting approximately $250 million across the nine years 2013/14 to 2012/22. These came from a wide range of public, private, Maori and community entities throughout the region,'' she said.

"What the expressions of interest process has shown us is that this fund will fill a need within the Bay of Plenty to  assist with infrastructure development. However the process has also highlighted that due to the high demand, applications will need to provide a strong business case to be considered for the hotly contested funding that is available.''

Organisations considering applying to the fund are invited to attend a public briefing at 2pm on Thursday, November 8 at The Orchard, Te Puke. To register for the briefing, email rif@boprc.govt.nz.

To read more about the fund, visit the Regional Council's website www.boprc.govt.nz/rif

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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