Council bids for support for major ‘shovel-ready’ projects

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The Timaru District Council has applied to the Government for multi-million dollar support funding for two major ‘shovel ready’ water projects to help with recovery post-Covid-19 lockdown.

The two projects – the replacement of the main water trunk line between Pareora Dam and Timaru City, and the construction of a new water treatment plant for the Downlands scheme – both meet the requirements outlined in a request for information from Crown Infrastructure Partners.

The projects would be considered in the context of any potential Government response to support the construction industry, and to provide certainty on a pipeline of projects to be commenced or re-commenced, once the Covid-19 Response Level was suitable for construction to proceed.

The response deadline was today, and the Government was expected to announce more details in late April/May. A positive result could see tenders issued a month or two after confirmation of funding.

Timaru District Mayor Nigel Bowen said that it was important the council was in the position to help stimulate the economy once lockdown was over.

“These are two major projects for which we’ve been doing the planning and preparation work and that are now ready to break ground on, so from our point of view they’re perfect projects for this kind of stimulus funding.

“Both are large and complex projects that will both provide high quality technical and construction employment in the short to medium term.

“However, the results of these projects will have multi-generational benefits for the whole South Canterbury region by better securing water supplies for residents and the industries much of our primary sector supplies, as well as the thousands of rural consumers that are the backbone of our local economy.

“From our perspective we see these as exactly the type of project that this funding source has been set up to support. We’ve put in a strong initial response, and are now awaiting the announcement of which projects make it to the next stage of providing a detailed proposal.”

The Pareora Pipeline project is budgeted at $21m to replace the 42km main water supply pipe from the city’s water source deep in the Pareora Gorge to the city’s Claremont Reservoir.

The current pipeline is now more than 75 years old and needs replacing to ensure every household in Timaru, as well as major industrial and food processing companies, have access to high quality potable water.

The Downlands Water Scheme, which covers rural properties across 78,000 hectares in Timaru, Waimate and Mackenzie districts, has approximately 2,300 connections.

Most of the scheme was built in the late 1930s and the $12 million treatment and storage plant, which is part of a wider $24 million upgrade project, will ensure the scheme meets stringent water safety standards and is more resistant to interruptions due to river water quality.

More information about both projects can be found in the council Long Term Plan 2018-2028 at timaru.govt.nz/ltp

Timaru District Council