A government funding announcement coincided with consent being granted for Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga, Hāwera's new library, arts and culture centre last week.

The South Taranaki District Council received the required resource consent for the $11.5 million project on Thursday, the same day Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced $3m in 'shovel-ready' funding for it.

South Taranaki Mayor Phil Nixon says Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga is a key anchor project in the Hāwera town centre redevelopment, which will also be a big boost to the district's post Covid-19 recovery.

"It will bring more foot traffic, visitors and vibrancy to the CBD, provide enhanced community services, create jobs and economic stimulus at this crucial time and improve connectivity for both the South Taranaki community and for visitors to the district."

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 South Taranaki District Mayor Phil Nixon, pictured with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, says work will begin soon on the new library.
South Taranaki District Mayor Phil Nixon, pictured with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, says work will begin soon on the new library.

He says the decision, by independent commissioner Alan Withy, means work could start on the new centre within the next few months.

"The next step is to put tenders out for the demolition and construction work, and subject to the appeal period, we are ready to go."

An independent commissioner was engaged to make the decision as South Taranaki District Council was both the applicant and the consenting authority.

Located on the corner of High and Regent Sts, the new 1605m2 building combines a number of facilities onto one site, including a bigger library, meeting rooms, public toilets, an art gallery and heritage exhibition space, i-SITE visitor centre and cafe.

"Te Ramanui won't just be a community and visitor hub, it will be a catalyst for driving change and increasing investment which we believe will transform the town centre," Nixon says.

In addition to the government funding announced last week, the TSB Community Trust has granted $2.8 million towards the project with South Taranaki District Council contributing the remaining amount.

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