Hamilton City Council will pitch a suite of environmental initiatives to the Government as part of its plan to help the city recover from Covid-19.
Major infrastructure programmes will include specific proposals to replant gullies, build extensive separated cycleways and walkways, enhance fresh water quality and improve public transport in the city.
At least 20 large infrastructure proposals, most including environmental projects, will be sent to Wellington within weeks as the council and wider region makes its case for funding support.
The proposals are part of a push to secure a share of the massive Government stimulus package aimed at creating jobs and keeping New Zealand's economy moving.
Proposals will focus on fast-tracking infrastructure projects – some regional – and would include pitches for roading projects, community-based initiatives, water and wastewater treatment and more.
There is a big focus on transport improvements including bus, rail and passenger transport.
Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate says all up, proposals from Hamilton would be in the "vicinity of $1.5 billion" but the criteria to secure government support was clear.
"This isn't a lolly scramble. Successful projects must be ready to go within six months, benefit the public and each be worth at least $10 million in order to create jobs and support families," she says.
"While nothing has been confirmed, councillors have been adamant that projects we pitch must contribute positively to a more sustainable future for the city.
"Anything we put up will take into account the city's environmental, social, cultural and economic wellbeing and that includes putting a green lens on what we'll be asking Government to support," Ms Southgate says.
As part of major infrastructure projects, specific proposals will include:
• Major enhancements to Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park including a new combined entrance with the Hamilton Zoo, more boardwalks, signage and viewing towers.
• Transforming some of Hamilton's gully network and potentially creating walking and cycling routes. Proposals will include clearing bush, predator and weed control and mass planting of locally-sourced indigenous species.
• Bringing forward a city-wide, child-friendly separated cycling network to enable cyclists to ride from the CBD to anywhere in the city within 20 minutes. The project also proposes more city tree planting and localised stormwater initiatives.
• Fast-tracking a suite of planned initiatives at Peacocke including cycling, walking and passenger transport options. Proposals will include building underpasses or bridges at all intersections, developing separated cycleways, wide pedestrian paths and bus facilities, as well as restoring pa sites and planting thousands of trees. The Council also wants to fast-track 25ha of gully-planting and stormwater improvements at Peacocke and turn wastewater pipes across gullies into dual-purpose cycling and pedestrian bridges.
Environment Committee chair Margaret Forsyth says Covid-19 presents an opportunity for "blue-sky thinking around a post-Covid world".
"The initiatives we've pitched aren't necessarily radical on their own, but they have the potential over time, to revolutionise our city," she says.
"If we can get things like cycleways and walkways fast-tracked, that has huge implications for jobs, for public transport and roads and the way we live in and move around our city in the future."
"And if we add planting programmes and green space initiatives into any economic stimulus package, and they meet the Government's criteria, we should absolutely do that. This is an opportunity for us to shift gear in terms of how we move around, work, interact with our environment, live and play."
Further details around the Council's Covid-19 economic proposals will be released over coming weeks.
No decisions on what proposals might proceed have been made, the council says.