Rail sid­ing to cre­ate jobs

Puppy prob­lem get­ting worse? South Waikato District Coun­cil has dished out big bucks for eco­nomic and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment projects in­clud­ing a road-rail freight ter­mi­nal. Caitlin Wal­lace re­ports.

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE -

De­vel­op­ment of a road-rail freight ter­mi­nal in Toko­roa is rolling full steam ahead af­ter a huge cash in­jec­tion from the South Waikato District Coun­cil.

A whop­ping $2.5 mil­lion in­vest­ment in the ‘‘rail sid­ing’’ project will even­tu­ally mean the cre­ation of 30 jobs, deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Smith said.

The ven­ture, which has been dis­cussed for the past six months, se­cured fund­ing from the district’s $5m play fund.

Smith said the ter­mi­nal would al­low di­rect road-rail container load­ing and un­load­ing, mak­ing Toko­roa a key dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre.

Along­side the $1.73m al­ready in­vested in the project from other coun­cil bud­gets, it re­ceived $770,000 from the $5m.

More than 40 sub­mis­sions to­talling $15m sought a share of the fund.

The coun­cil will be in part­ner­ship with Ki­wiRail, New Zealand Trans­port Agency ( NZTA), R J Lin­coln Lo­gis­tics and other po­ten­tial in­vestors.

RJL con­trib­uted with the gifted land and $1m for equip­ment.

Smith said the work would start this spring with an ex­pected fin­ish date of March next year.

Mayor Neil Sin­clair is adamant the coun­cil has in­vested wisely.

‘‘The de­vel­op­ment of this project fits per­fectly with the coun­cil’s two strate­gic ob­jec­tives of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and district pro­mo­tion,’’ Sin­clair said.

It will be avail­able for use by all ex­ist­ing and new businesses.

The rail sid­ing is not the only ex­cit­ing ven­ture in the pipe­line for the district af­ter the coun­cil’s an­nounce­ment that $ 4.7m has been pro­vi­sion­ally al­lo­cated to 15 eco­nomic and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment projects.

The long-awaited Leith Place up­grade re­ceived $1m on top of the $500,000 al­ready al­lo­cated in the 2014-2015 budget and close to $1m will be used to in­crease the num­ber of pen­sioner hous­ing units in the district.

The district-wide plea for pub­lic trans­port has been an­swered in the form of a $200,000 scop­ing study.

The project will use the funds to ex­am­ine the need for such a ser­vice.

Sin­clair said it was a shame not all projects could be funded.

‘‘ We know that groups that missed out will be dis­ap­pointed,’’ he said.

‘‘Re­mark­ably there was a lot of uni­for­mity in the se­lec­tion, but I doubt if any one coun­cil­lor selected all those that re­ceived fund­ing.

‘‘The other de­bate was about the level of fund­ing.

‘‘In gen­eral it was agreed that we had to make sure that the project would be com­pleted and that meant grant­ing the full amount wher­ever we could.’’

Of the nine projects put for­ward by the coun­cil dur­ing the con­sul­ta­tion phase, three projects re­ceived pro­vi­sional fund­ing.

These are the road-rail ter­mi­nal ini­tia­tive, pen­sioner hous­ing and the Leith Place re­fur­bish­ment.

The coun­cil will be tak­ing take the lead on four other projects, some in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the sub­mit­ters and other in­ter­ested par­ties.

The fund­ing will re­main in­house ini­tially, bring­ing the to­tal of coun­cil-led projects to seven.

Full ahead: R J Lin­coln Lo­gis­tics owner Ray­mond Lin­coln, front, is backed by Neil Sin­clair and Gavin O’Donoghue.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.