Matamata-Piako District Council has been awarded $640,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to seal 28km of the Hauraki Rail Trail extension between Te Aroha and Matamata.
The funding application is one of several the council has put forward to central government in recent weeks to secure a share of the massive Government package to help stimulate the local economy and support workers who lost jobs as a result of Covid-19.
This is the council's second successful application for government funding in recent weeks.
The first one was for funding from Waka Kotahi – New Zealand Transport Agency for two "Business Bubble Zones" in Morrinsville, where work is already completed.
The funding for this project is from a PGF funding allocation earmarked for specific pre-existing local roading projects to provide urgent economic relief for the workforce sector.
In line with this, the council is looking to get work under way quickly on this project, putting funding into the local economy and providing employment opportunities for those who need it.
The council has approached four companies with the necessary skills, expertise and equipment to apply for the project, enabling them to start work immediately. It will then partner with the successful applicant and local Iwi to ensure this project provides opportunities for local workers who are currently unemployed as a direct result of Covid-19
"We are feeling for everyone who has been negatively impacted as a result of Covid-19," said Matamata-Piako Mayor Ash Tanner.
"It's important for us to work with contractors who are equally focused on providing opportunities to upskill their staff and provide jobs for people who have been displaced in the last few months.
"This is just one of several projects we have pushed forward following Covid-19 to help stimulate the national and local economy and further minimise its impacts. We are thrilled the PGF has enabled us to complete this part of the Hauraki Rail Trail extension while supporting our community."
Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust CEO, Diane Drummond, said "the Hauraki Rail Trail is in an enviable position to provide a world-class experience as a nursery trail for the great ride network. This successful application to the PGF is only the start of making that dream a reality."
The successful contractor will be clearing the trail and surrounding areas of vegetation where required, followed by preparation work to get the surface ready for sealing. The fine chip seal will enhance the current trail, making the surface much smoother and enjoyable to ride.
The chip seal will not replace the concrete sections of the trail and won't make the trail suitable for stock or heavy vehicles, which have the potential to damage the surface.
This project will include the existing Tower Road Footpath Track, which is from Firth Tower back to Matipo St.