The Otago region is set to get a boost of funding into its tourism, transport, manufacturing and skills sectors, including $6.5 million expansion to the Clutha Gold Great Ride Cycle Trail.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones today announced the funding from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) "to help catalyse economic growth in the Otago region".
The projects include the $6.5 million for the Clutha Gold Great Ride Cycle Trail (Clutha District Council), $250,000 for the Construction workforce modelling (Dunedin City Council), $218,000 for the SH1 Rosebank Industrial Estate slip lane (Clutha District Council), $96,000 for Scoping of new and advanced wood fire technology (Escea Limited) and $20,000 for the Economic Impact Assessment of an adventure park in Cromwell (Big Daddy Adventures Limited).
"From Cromwell in the north to Balclutha in the south, the Provincial Growth Fund is committed to unlocking the economic potential of the entire Otago region," Mr Jones said in a statement.
"The investments we’ve announced today reflect the variety of projects that the region has to offer. The PGF is proud to be supporting Otago to lift its productivity potential."
The largest investment will support the extension of the Clutha Gold Great Ride Cycle Trail, from the existing 73km trail to a total of 136km. It goes from Lawrence to Waihola via Milton.
It will take three years for the 62 workers to construct the additional 63km. In the first 10 years of operation, the extended trail has the potential to create an average of 36 jobs per year.
"The expansion of the cycle trail will showcase the Clutha District’s natural beauty and create an environmentally-friendly tourist attraction for visitors to the area," Mr Jones says. "The PGF is proud to help get shovels in the ground to fast-track Clutha’s economic growth."
Additional to the PGF investment, the Government’s Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund will provide $1.5 million to the project.
"Clutha Gold is one of the 22 Great Rides of Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trail, and we’re delighted to be encouraging more people to get on a bike and experience the beauty of Central Otago through this investment," Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said.
As well, the $200,000 PGF investment to build a slip lane off State Highway One will allow the newly established Rosebank Industrial Park to meet traffic demands and expand.
Mr Jones says the park has already been creating new opportunities for businesses in Balclutha, so it makes sense for the PGF to enable the park to grow even further and create more jobs.
The $96,000 investment for Dunedin-based manufacturing company Escea Limited to investigate new and advanced wood fire technology could also lead to 35 jobs over 5 years if the project goes into production, he says.
While, the $250,000 investment to undertake modelling on current and future workforce training and supply requirements "has the potential to get local people ready for construction jobs that will allow the region to prosper further", Mr Jones says.
"Otago has over 700 construction projects which will be worth $10 billion over the next 15 years."