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River Path, Jobs A Win-win For City

Hamilton ratepayers are the biggest winners from a $1.5 million government funding injection that will create up to 50 new jobs for the city and fix a long-closed river path.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced yesterday that Hamilton has secured $1.5M in funding from the Ministry of Business, Industry and Employment (MBIE). The MBIE money comes after a proposal put to Government for immediate works which will create jobs for people unemployed as a result of COVID-19.

The money will be used to repair and re-open the Te Awa River Ride path in Hamilton between London Street and Bryce Street which has been closed due to slips since mid-2018. Funding will also be used to replant and enhance the existing path from Hamilton Parade to the Waikato Museum.

Up to 50 new jobs will be created, most beginning within weeks and expected to last around four months. Workers will be sourced via the Ministry of Social Development with an emphasis on those forced out of work because of the pandemic.

Untrained workers will be put through an innovative five-day training programme – Road Ready Basics – developed by Downer alongside Council. The experienced-based programme aims to turn out work-ready people with transferable skills. Candidates are eligible if they are drug-free, hold a driver’s licence, are fit for work and have the right attitude. Waikato-Tainui and Ngati Haua have also had input into the Training Programme to incorporate localised cultural knowledge and practices.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate is pleased and “frankly relieved” to see the river path fixed after safety and funding delays which had frustrated her and the wider community.

“People will be very pleased to have that section of the path open for summer because it’s been a long time coming,” she says.

“It’s wonderful to have secured the government money so quickly and to have got such a sizeable contribution. I think all ratepayers will appreciate that.”

“But it’s very exciting to see up to 50 new jobs created in our city for people who, through no fault of their own, now find themselves out of work. They will leave the project with new, transferable skills so congratulations to everyone involved in pulling this together. It’s a great example of partnerships and a great outcome for everyone.”

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