Last Friday’s stormy weather was another reminder – as if we needed one – of how a night of heavy rain and wind can severely disrupt our roading network. This latest weather system was intense but short-lived and our contractors and those of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency did their usual quick work of restoring our vital road links.
We continue to push hard for long-term investment (10-30 years) in our roading infrastructure. This is critical, not only for our Coromandel communities, but also for a wide range of our business operators. Long term investments across multiple industries including tourism and hospitality, forestry, aquaculture, farming and retail all rely on reliable and sustainable roading connections. Jobs and housing as well as our social and economic wellbeing are on the line if this investment doesn’t happen. We’ve partnered with Waka Kotahi to plan what needs to be done, but the funding has to come from central government. We need to see commitments from all parties that they are going to recognise the value to the Coromandel and do the right thing. It’s a conversation that all of us should be having with candidates as we get closer to the election.
It's certainly a conversation I had last week when we hosted Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni in Thames. She announced a further $200,000 of government support funding for tourism recovery in the Coromandel. Our regional tourism promoter, Destination Hauraki Coromandel, will put this to good use to boost visitor numbers this coming summer.
We’ve seen consistent drops in electronic card spending this year, compared to the same period last year, so I’ve been taking every opportunity to tell government ministers that ongoing support for the Coromandel will be crucial until our roading network is fully re-established. Ms Sepuloni is also the new Cyclone Recovery Minister for the Coromandel and during her visit she heard from business association leaders and Thames business operators about the difficulties they’re facing.
We’ve heard from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency that work on reopening SH25A is proceeding, with activity at the site to make it ready for the construction of the bridge over the collapsed section of road. Up to 100 workers will be on site once things are in full swing and many of these will need local accommodation, providing a much-needed economic boost.
We’re releasing our Recovery Plan soon, so you can see all the actions and work that is going on – and also a calendar of events and forums that are on over the following months to help boost up communities and promote connectedness until SH25A reopens. Keep an eye on our website for that, it’ll be available soon.
I’m also very pleased to announce that our Council’s Mayoral Relief Social Recovery Fund is now open for applications. This has been set up for local community organisations and social services who are facing increased costs from supporting their communities through this year’s weather events. More information will be on our website at www.tcdc.govt.nz/socialrecovery.
Caption: Mayor Len Salt.