Government cash boost for Invercargill CBD block development

The Invercargill Inner City Development project received $10 million from the Government on Wednesday.

Kavinda Herath/Stuff

The Invercargill Inner City Development project received $10 million from the Government on Wednesday.

The Invercargill Inner City block development has been granted $10 million of government money as a post-pandemic kick-start cash injection.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said Invercargill City Limited had been granted the money from the Infrastructure Reference Group, which would create about 350 jobs,

Earlier this year, government established the IRG to work with local councils and businesses to identify shovel-ready projects to support the economy during the Covid-19 rebuild.

The Invercargill City Council recently agreed to invest an additional $16m to cover a shortfall in project funding, taking its total spend to $46m.

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However, council chief executive Clare Hadley said it was unclear if the Government’s $10m meant council only needed to cover $6m.

Hadley wanted certainty as to what the Government intended with the $10m investment.

“I need to see some paperwork,” Hadley said.

Hadley also needed to speak with the development stakeholders, as she was not sure who the money was going to.

The government investment was fantastic nonetheless, Hadley said.

Invercargill Central Limited director Scott O’Donnell said the money meant more equity for the project and would go towards the project fund.

The ministers’ announcement says Southland is expected to receive $90m of the $3 billion Covid Response and Recovery Fund, with further details in the coming weeks.

The Inner City Development would give new life to the Invercargill CBD, which posed a considerable seismic risk, had low levels of foot traffic, struggled to retain businesses and lacked the soul and presence expected of a modern CBD, information put out by the ministers says.

Otago was granted about $260m and the West Coast would also receive $90m.

The projects would create immediate economic activity in the metropolitan centres as well as the regions, Jones said.

“The specific projects we’re announcing today are examples of the sort of projects we’re supporting – from nationwide investments in flood protection and better digital connectivity to civic facilities that we know form the bedrock of our communities,” Jones said.

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