The Taupō District Council has asked the Government for $316 million to allow it to progress 16 "shovel-ready" construction and infrastructure projects and create up to 2298 jobs in the district.
They include, drinking water upgrades to provide safe drinking water throughout the district, funding for a community, service and emergency centre for the Taupō district (which would include the new council administration building), an affordable housing subdivision and an events and cultural centre for Turangi.
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The Taupō district is expected to be particularly hard-hit by the impacts of Covid-19 and the associated downturn in the local tourism industry, which provides 6404 full-time equivalent jobs in the district and last year generated some $371 million in economic activity.
The council's finances have also been affected by the downturn and it is expecting to severely prune its spending which will in turn limit its ability to inject money into the local economy.
However, it does have a number of projects which meet the Government's criteria for Crown funding. They are all valued at more than $10 million, could begin within six months and would employ people across the trades and associated sectors, with some projected to provide several hundred jobs.
A shovel-ready construction project is one where planning and engineering is advanced enough with sufficient funding that construction can begin within a short time.
On April 1, the Government called for information on infrastructure projects to reduce the economic impact of Covid-19. The Infrastructure Industry Reference Group will put forward to ministers projects from the private and public sector that are "shovel-ready" or likely to be within six months.
The Government will then decide which could be funded, contracted and ready to go as soon as the construction workforce is able to return to work.
The four criteria to aid selection say projects must relate to infrastructure, have construction readiness, be of a significant size that creates jobs, and consider benefits and risks.
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The council has already undertaken planning and design for a number of important but expensive projects that will now have to be shelved indefinitely as a result of Covid-19.
But with funding from the Crown Infrastructure Partnership some or all of the projects on the council and the community's wishlist would be able to proceed, creating up to 2298 full-time equivalent jobs over 16 projects.
The projects listed in the council's CIP application cover local government's four priority areas: economic, social, environmental and cultural. Some also directly align with central Government's key priority areas.
The three top priority projects all relate to water. They include upgrading water treatment schemes to ensure safe drinking water, replacing and upgrading the district's water and wastewater network and using technology known as telemetry equipment to remotely monitor all the water schemes and water treatment plants around the district.
Other projects include kerbing and channelling, paths and trails, building upgrades, a recreation, events and cultural centre for Tūrangi, and recreation facilities and parks. The largest project, at an estimated cost of $38.6 million is the community, service and emergency centre/council building, which would employ an estimated 460 people, and the smallest is road safety and rehabilitation at $10.3 million which would employ 50.
The covering letter from Mayor David Trewavas says some parts of the Taupō district were already struggling pre-Covid-19 with higher deprivation levels and the crisis had only further highlighted this inequality.
"It is important, however, to point out that we didn't just dream these projects up in order to make applications for this process. Every one of these projects is anchored in existing local and regional strategies and have been through public consultation and democratic decision-making processes as part of structure plans, strategies and Long-term Plans," the mayor's letter says.
"I am extremely confident that if we were fortunate to have our entire proposed package granted, we could deliver the projects ... All necessary consents and approvals are either in place, or in progress, to help ensure timely project deliver (sic)."
There is no word on when a decision on the shovel-ready projects will be made, although the Government has asked for a list of projects that "are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal".
Taupō Stimulus Projects
Safe drinking water - $15.65 million, 80 jobs
Water & wastewater reticulation - $53.54 million, 254 jobs
Safe water via telemetry - $14.06 million, 34 jobs
Community, service & emergency centre/council building - $38.6 million, 460 jobs
Recreation improvements - $15.19 million, 188 jobs
Shared & accessible paths, kerbs, channels - $10.55 million, 60 jobs
Taupō town centre transformation - $20.6 million, 92 jobs
Taupō bike trails - $10.04 million, 55 jobs
Building upgrades - $17.4 million, 214 jobs
Road safety & rehabilitation - $10.3 million, 50 jobs
Social services & community youth hub - $10.3 million, 55 jobs
Social & community housing - $20 million, 80 jobs
Tūrangi recreation, events & cultural centre - $14.57 million, 180 jobs
Tūrangi wastewater treatment plant & disposal field relocation - $30 million 57 jobs
Great Lake Centre refurbishment - $13.2 million, 163 jobs
Taupō Museum rebuild - $22.36 million, 276 jobs