Te Waka CEO Michael Bassett-Foss says today’s funding announcement by Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones will allow the Thames-Coromandel district to take advantage of a growing marine servicing industry, creating jobs and significant economic growth for the area.
The proposed Kōpū marine servicing and business precinct has been given funding of $8.2 million from the Government’s $3 billion ‘shovel ready’ fund set aside to kick-start the country’s post Covid-19 economic recovery.
The project will see Kōpū developed as a centre of marine servicing operations across the Hauraki Gulf, as well as being well-placed to act as a connection for water-based tourism opportunities and a growing aquaculture industry.
Bassett-Foss says Kōpū has a lot to offer and is strategically placed between three major cities, with a major recreational fishing ground and significant aquaculture industry on its doorstep.
“A huge congratulations to Thames Coromandel District Council (TCDC) for their relentless efforts, which have led to such a fantastic result today.
“The development of the Kōpū precinct will provide tangible benefits for the local and regional community, creating employment opportunities and improved use of Māori assets as it is well-aligned with local iwi cultural values.”
In making the announcement, the Minister estimated that the Marine Precinct could bring economic returns of up to $58.5 million over the next 30 years.
“There is huge potential economic impact of this project across the wider Thames Coromandel and Hauraki areas,” says Bassett-Foss. “The prioritisation of this work by key stakeholders is why Te Waka has squarely lobbied Government, met with various influential officials and used our resources to help get the project and funding across the line.
“Creating the best outcomes for the environment within this project is a priority, with a dual focus on ensuring the protection and enhancement of the Thames-Coromandel district’s natural features, while ensuring productive assets can be managed sustainably into the future.
“Funding this project sets the region up for the future and I commend the Government on their forward-thinking.”
This project sits alongside two other Coromandel District projects which received Government funding in 2018 through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF). These included scoping out business cases for expanding Sugarloaf Wharf and developing a Coromandel Marine Gateway facility with the potential for a commuter ferry service to Auckland.
“Together these three projects show the potential economic development opportunities around the Coromandel by preparing the region for higher visitor numbers and increased usage of wharf and boat ramp facilities for both recreational and commercial users.
“Waikato is finally starting to see Crown Infrastructure Projects (CIP) and PGF announcements roll through after 18 months of effort by applicants and support from the Waikato business community,” says Bassett-Foss.
Te Waka has had direct involvement in nearly $110 million worth of CIP and PGF funding. It has also assisted directly with 15 applications and helped a further 10 by providing advocacy to Government.