Havelock North businesses apply for water contamination crisis assistance

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In mid-September, Havelock North businesses and supporters toasted the return of decent water quality, but council help is being sought to recover from the financial affects.
In mid-September, Havelock North businesses and supporters toasted the return of decent water quality, but council help is being sought to recover from the financial affects.

Forty-nine Havelock North businesses have applied for assistance from the Hastings District Council following the contamination of the village's water supply, estimated to have led to an $80,000 loss in business revenue over the peak week of the outbreak.

In September, the council announced a $100,000 business assistance fund for those affected, with options including providing a cash grant from the fund, penalty-free rates for up to six months with an agreed payment plan, as well as possible low-level interest-free loans for up to one year.

There were priorities for assistance - the first priority being for those businesses where there was a risk they may not survive, the second priority being for other businesses that were significantly affected.

The close-off for applications was September 30, and yesterday a council spokeswoman said that the 49 applications for assistance were from those in both priority categories.

The types of businesses seeking help were confidential, and the council was still processing the applications, with the aim to let the businesses know the outcome by October 21.

She said the packages businesses received would depend on their individual circumstances.

"It is believed at this stage that the whole allocation will be required to fulfil council's decision to assist businesses that suffered business loss because of the water contamination."

The business package was included in a total sum of $710,000 that was allocated at the beginning of last month in response to the water supply crisis.

That amount was to be drawn from the 2015-16 rating surplus. Of this $300,000 would cover a water rates remission for Havelock North residents - $57 to any property connected to the suburb's water supply.

Another $300,000 was set aside to cover expected additional costs, and $10,000 was earmarked for the Havelock North Business Association to help it support its members.

The council was also working with IRD, MSD and banks to help co-ordinate access to other financial assistance, which was to be discussed with businesses once an application was made.

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