Rejuvenating central Whangārei, and several other projects - including plans for a 850-seat theatre and conference venue - have received $20 million from the Government's $3 billion post-Covid infrastructure fund.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones have outlined how the $3b will be allocated across regions.
Jones said $150m will come to Northland from the fund. The first $20m - for projects in Whangārei - was announced yesterday. The other $130m of projects will be announced in coming weeks.
Jones said with uncertainty in Whangārei around jobs it was important that the project funded would create jobs, and about 200 would be created from the first funding round.
He said the money - exact amounts are still to be worked out - would go towards the Whangārei District Council's Whangārei Rejuvenation project; Hihiaua Cultural Centre; a trade training centre at Whangārei Boys High School; Northland Rugby Union to move its headquarters to Pohe Island; Bike Northland Incorporated for a bike track at Pohe Island, and towards an expansion of the Ruakākā Recreation Centre.
''Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai has done a good job of campaigning for funding to come to the district, which makes up about 40 per cent of Northland's population,'' Jones said.
''She's pushed hard to get funding for the council's rejuvenation project and the other projects funded here. The Hihiaua project will be tremendous for the district and we are delighted to be able to contribute to it.''
Hihiaua Cultural Centre Trust chairman Ryan Welsh said an 850-seat theatre and conference venue for Whangārei is one step closer with the announcement.
''Stage 2 of the Hihiaua Cultural Centre, which was granted resource consent late last year, will see the construction of an iconic venue for performing and visual arts, conferences and other community events on the Hihiaua peninsula.''
Welsh said the phenomenal demand for and success of Stage 1 in its first year, as a creative and welcoming community space, has consolidated the resolve of the trust to build Stage 2.
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"Hihiaua provides for arts, culture, local community connection and educational opportunities in a way that other event centres are not in a position to provide. This is particularly relevant in the current environment where social and cultural isolation have begun to tear at the fabric of many communities," he said.
Hihiaua has already hosted more than 50 widely varied events involving more than 20,000 participants, staged six professionally curated exhibitions and provides a creative space for local carvers, weavers and artists. Stage 2 will see further development of the Hihiaua precinct adding a unique performance space with an indoor/outdoor stage, exhibition space, banquet catering and conference facilities.
Construction costs are estimated at $16m and further funding will be required to ensure the fit-out is world class and fit for purpose, he said.
Jones said the rejuvenation project is an investment in the social and community infrastructure of Whangārei, covering a group of projects identified as priorities for the area including a cultural centre, new shared paths infrastructure, and sporting and trades training facilities.
This is the day-to-day infrastructure that helps Whangārei residents move around their city and access work, education, and recreation. The Whangārei Rejuvenation also includes the construction of spaces for learning and sporting activities, he said.
Mai welcomed the funding.
"This gives the green light to a number of projects close to people's hearts at a time when we are feeling a bit battered by Covid-19's effect on employment and the economy,'' she said.
"It will create much needed employment and, further than that, these projects will provide long-term, lasting recreation and cultural assets for our citizens to enjoy. In future we will reflect on these projects as good things that came out of the difficult times we lived through."