There's one group that wants the Horizons Regional Council to start a $500,000 a year regional facilities fund – and it's a group that wants to benefit for the next four years.

The Central Region Velodrome Development Trust told councillors it supported the fund at a hearing in Whanganui on May 24. It also wanted its facility to be the first funded.

The first four years of the fund would give the trust $2 million toward the $15.7m needed to roof the Whanganui velodrome.

The Giblin Group, which got the Sarjeant Gallery extension over the line, is working with the trust. Labour leader Jacinda Ardern promised the project $6m before the election, and the Whanganui District Council has promised $1m.


The Giblin Group has made two applications to the Department of Internal Affairs, for $4m and $500,000.

Whanganui councillor Philippa Baker-Hogan submitted in support of the fund and project.
But there were lots of other submissions on the proposed fund.

The Manawatu District Council asked for it to be lifted to $2m a year, and for Manfeild to be the first beneficiary.

The Wanganui Rural Community Board felt it would be better for the district itself to fund the project.

Lyn Cheyne, Whanganui's former destination marketing leader, said a regional facilities fund was not needed now that Government has a $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund.

If the velodrome project was commercially viable, investors could be found.

"The overall result of funding these types of facilities can often be a greater tax burden on a dwindling number of ratepayers in maintaining and operating infrastructure that has never realised its potential."

In most cases economic development doesn't require new facilities, she said, and new facilities tend to happen as a result of it.

Several submitters had ideas about how to prevent a swollen Matarawa Stream flooding parts of Whanganui East. Diverting more of its floodwater into the Mateongaonga Stream has been suggested.

Some submitters suggested diverting all the water. But Whanganui's David Matthews showed slides of the erosion already happening from partial diversion.

"It's not fair to trash someone's farm to prevent a property flooding somewhere else."

He suggested the Horizons and Whanganui District councils work together to enlarge the Gerse St culvert, which would let more water through.

Lyn Pearson asked for better information about bus routes and times in Whanganui, and paper timetables for people who can't access them online. She said Affco had not installed ventilation equipment in its rendering plant, and asked how to find out whether water at the Whanganui River mouth is cleaner now that sewage is going into the new wastewater treatment plant.

Horizons' proposal to put $4.9m into repairing training structures in the lower river was applauded by Jamie Waugh. He said the council had a statutory obligation to make the repairs, and it was good to see better co-operation with the Whanganui District Council.

Bits were falling off the north and south moles. If they were not repaired soon the city, the airport and Castlecliff would be at major risk.

Jock Lee and Peter Horsley said Horizons should be paying more attention to climate change.

Jo Morris and David Richardson, separately, said they could barely afford to pay their rates. Richardson said rates were 14.2 per cent of his income.

He asked people in the room to raise their hands if their income was less than $25,000 a year – as his was. No one did.