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February 2020 news update

Tēnā koutou,

I hope you had a happy and restful holiday and are tackling 2020 with a spring in your step!

2019 was a big year for regional development – but this year has got off to a cracking start with more than $100 million in PGF and NZ Upgrade Programme funding for several key projects across the region.

These include $5.9 million for the Taupō Airport Upgrade, $10.6 million for Raukokore water investment and $19.9 million for Kawerau Infrastructure. Further information is provided below in this panui.

These developments were all announced across this week, capped off by the news just in that the Ōpōtiki Harbour re-development will receive $79.4 million from the NZ Upgrade Programme.

A staggering 1850 jobs will be created by the Ōpōtiki Harbour project, 730 of which will be in Ōpōtiki to ensure the harbour is fit for purpose for the seafood industry.

The announcement will enable safe access for more boats into the harbour, allowing Ōpōtiki to become a major servicing base for aquaculture and other marine related industries. You can read the full announcement here.

All of these projects have been many, many years in the making, involving hundreds of passionate people who have remained committed to bringing them to fruition. We are extremely proud to have made our own contribution to these in small ways over the years, and wholeheartedly congratulate everyone involved.

Those who choose to make the wider Bay of Plenty their home do so because they love it, and care deeply for the people and the land. All of these developments will help ensure a sustainable future for us all.

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In other news, we are pleased to welcome Jacqui Rolleston who has taken up the position of Data and Insights Analyst for Bay of Connections. Jacqui has extensive experience in event and project management and has a passion for supporting Māori and Pacific business.

Jacqui will support the work we are doing with our data project – which you can read more about below.

Our Leadership Group met late last year and have started to progress our priorities and planning for 2020 and beyond. There has been a lot of discussion on how to ensure the resilience of our communities is maintained as we move toward a low carbon economy.

We are in the process of updating our website – keep an eye out for bios on our Leadership Group members in the coming weeks.

As always, I appreciate the support from all involved in our region’s development and we will continue to keep you updated as things progress.

Ngā mihi,

Rebecca Roe
Programme Manager, Regional Economic Development

Conceptual image of Ōpōtiki harbour development, which will now be funded by the new NZ Upgrade Programme. Photo / NZ Herald/Supplied.

Welcome to Jacqui

Jacqui comes to us with a wealth of experience within local government. Her strengths are project and event management, which is where she will help guide our data project for the region.

Working with the EDAs, we identified last year that ensuring comprehensive and consistent data for the region will be a core foundation for its future developments. Our data project will support the region with data needs across the regional economic development space, working alongside data specialists in the EDAs and Government agencies.

Jacqui’s role will be to explore key common datasets that are critical to support future decision-making, while also enabling us all to better tell the story of sustainable regional development.

PGF update

As outlined above, the significant PGF announcements this week are all important milestones for the region, supporting new jobs and enhancing our local communities.

The upgrade of Taupō Airport will include modernising the terminal, extending the carpark and upgrading the runway apron – an essential upgrade for Taupō which is the gateway to the Central North Island.

The Taupō Airport upgrade is expected to create 60 jobs during construction.

The remote eastern rural town of Raukokore has received PGF funding in the form of a loan for a water storage facility. This facility will form part of a water storage scheme that will ultimately act as a catalyst for developing under-utilised Māori land.

The key focus of the project is to transition low productivity land to high value horticulture, which will lead to increased jobs in the area.

And last but not least, Kawerau’s PGF boost will support the ongoing development of the Putauaki Trust Industrial Hub.

The Industrial Hub projects include the Kawerau Container Terminal, Putauaki Trust roading extension and infrastructure, and the Kawerau Off-Highway Road.

The Putauaki Trust Industrial Hub is seen as a critical pivot point for economic growth of the Eastern Bay of Plenty and is expected to create at least 150 jobs in Kawerau alone.

For further information on these announcements, please click here.

  Minister Shane Jones announced the PGF will be investing nearly $20 million in Kawerau to a receptive crowd. Photo: CHARLOTTEJONES/LDR/Stuff.

Low carbon update

Identified as one of our key priority areas through the Bay of Connections review, a focus on a low carbon economy is becoming increasingly important for the wider region.

We have had a number of discussions about how Bay of Connections can best support the region in its future transition to a low carbon economy/circular economy that will both benefit the region and also support infrastructure, Māori economic development and workforce development.

An important contributor to these discussions and potential work programme is James Hughes, one of six industry experts on our Leadership Group.

James has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the infrastructure and environment sectors with a specific focus climate change and natural hazards – as well as the impacts on communities and infrastructure.

James was part of The Ministry for the Environment’s Climate Change Technical Advisory Group from 2016-2018, and is currently working on the NZ National Climate Change Risk Assessment.

There is a great deal of work underway in this area at the moment, and we’ll be sharing further updates on this potential work programme in our next update.

Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG) update

Bay of Connections has been engaging with EDAs and central government partners to assist in the establishment of Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLG’s) which are underway across the country.

These groups will help identify current and future workforce and skills needs in each region, and the actions required, to develop these. They will also develop Workforce Plans which will outline the regions labour supply needs and how to create better and more attractive jobs across the region.

For more information on this work, please click here.

UFTI update

In recent weeks, feedback has been sought on four scenarios proposed in the Interim Report from the Urban Form and Transport Initiative (UFTI). UFTI is about providing a long term, integrated view of the region’s future growth, particularly in relation to the Western Bay of Plenty’s future urban development and transport needs.

You can view the report here.

The four concepts cover a mix of options based on the heavily-used transport corridors, utilising road or rail and different land use and location programmes. All of the urban form options being considered are built on existing SmartGrowth plans for growth.

All of the feedback that has been collected will be considered by the UFTI team and a final report outlining a preferred future plan for the sub-region is due mid-May 2020.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

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