Three Northern Hawke's Bay roading and construction projects, including replacing a bridge to renew access to a burial ground, will go ahead with about $2.5 million worth of funding under the Government's Covid-19 shovel-ready recovery programme.
The projects are the replacement of the Patangata Bridge at Whakaki, realignment based around about 200 metres of the Nuhaka River Road, and repair of the Rangatahi Dropout at Mahia.
Each now has 100 per cent Government funding, the latest boost to the Wairoa area coinciding with announcement of a $15m package of Provincial Growth Fund support for projects throughout Hawke's Bay.
It's separate and unrelated to the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency announcement of funding to advance the State Highway 2 Matahorua Gorge realignment expected to save huge ongoing maintenance and repair costs and 10 minutes off the trip between Napier and Wairoa.
Amid the announcements there were no hints today of any previously announced PGF-backed projects which may be cut back, as funds are what PGF Minister Shane Jones has called "repurposed" funding to help protect jobs and businesses.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said his council had focused on its PGF relationships and "the more likely projects at this stage".
"There's only so much money to go around," he said. "We're happy to get what we can."
The projects have been approved under the Government's allocation of $36.72m to projects in regions hard hit economically by Covid-19, and funded from the Government's $100m worker redeployment package announced in March.
Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones on Friday made the announcement which saw Hawke's Bay receive $15.24m creating around 220 jobs.
The Hawke's Bay projects will mostly focus on safety improvements and maintenance projects for roads and bridges with training provided for workers looking to be deployed.
Hastings projects were announced on Friday, while Napier has just over $1m worth of projects ahead, including cycle and pathway work, headed by $250,000 for Meeanee Rd to boundary cycleway connection, $200,000 on traffic calming in suburban Pirimai, and $150,000 upgrading a Westshore Reserve and playground.
In his repurposing announcement, Jones revealed Whakatu operation Apollo Foods Ltd will get $2.9m for new technology and to upskill workers to increase productivity and capability. It was one of four projects nationwide with a combined bankroll of $7.5m.
Little was delighted with the go-ahead for the projects in his district, and said: "Council has always recognised these projects needed completing but our stumbling block has been how we were going to be able to afford to finance the work.
"Council's strong relationship and reputation of getting the job done well with the Provincial Development Unit, combined with the collaborative work we have undertaken with the communities involved in these projects, has produced a successful outcome."
He said that to be able to attract around $2.5m to complete three "such worthwhile projects" without impact on rates was "great news".
"The Patangata Bridge is essential so when there is tangihanga our people can safely access the urupā and it is a vital access bridge for the landowners," he said.
"It has been a real struggle for the Whakaki community, and it is great that the Government has recognised the concerns that our council has been advocating.
"The Rangatahi Dropout at Mahia is a real battle with nature and council has struggled to be able to afford to repair this section."
Central Hawke's Bay projects are expected to be announced early tomorrow.