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Council Seeks To Redirect Walking And Cycling Bridge Funding To Water

Hamilton City Council has listened to community feedback and is looking to reprioritise $31.5 million allocated to a walking and cycling bridge, to critical water infrastructure in the central city.

Combined with reductions from associated areas of the Council’s Long-Term Plan, this will see potential savings of more than $50 million over the next 10 years.

The bridge has been a long-standing visionary and important piece of infrastructure to support Council’s plan to transform the central city as the population grows, but today’s financial climate means now is not the right time for this aspiration said Mayor Paula Southgate.

“This decision was not made lightly. It was one of the toughest we’ve had to make in this Long-Term Plan (LTP). We all love the vision and are sad to see it go but right now, critical water infrastructure must be our priority.”

The $31.5 million allocated to the bridge is part of $150.6 million in Crown funding contracted to Council from the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund (IAF), which is administered by Kāinga Ora. Following on from Council’s decision, a formal request to Kāinga Ora will be made to re-allocate the IAF funding, which is subject to approval from relevant Ministers.

If the re-allocation is approved, the IAF funding for the bridge, along with other savings found across other IAF projects, would be invested into bulk water mains to connect water supply to the central city from a new IAF-funded reservoir.

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This, along with removing Council’s $10.3 million investment into the bridge and proposed $6.6 million for connections, all contributes to the potential $50 million plus in savings in the current 2024-2034 LTP.

Work on the wider IAF-supported infrastructure programme in the central city continues, and includes:

  • A new water reservoir and pump station.
  • Upsizing water infrastructure to increase the capacity of pipes and pumpstations.
  • Planning improvements to the water supply, wastewater and stormwater networks.
  • Planning for long-term infrastructure on Anglesea Street.

As well as an estimated 4000 new houses, these IAF-supported infrastructure projects are expected to support more than 300,000m2 of commercial and retail space and have the potential to unlock more than $2.1 billion in private investment over the next decade.

The bridge was included in the IAF Funding Agreement to support a growing population in the central city and the need for the transport network to cope with increasing trips. It was part of a solution to provide safe and alternative transport choices.

The bridge project was at the procurement stage of design and construction. It has been pauseduntil the variation is signed.

Consultation with the community occurred through the Long-Term Plan Consultation period. This included asking the community ‘what they thought about the walking and cycling bridge in the central city’. More than 1500 people generally opposed the bridge, around 650 people were generally supportive and 450 were neutral.

Council will have the opportunity to reconsider a bridge for the future, but for now Mayor Southgate said “A large amount of community feedback said the bridge was a great concept, but that it was the wrong time to proceed.

"Council’s focus must be on safe and appropriate water supply to enable more homes, as well as prioritising vibrant public spaces to create a central city where people love to be.”

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