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Benefits from PGF funding for local roads ‘immeasurable’

Provincial Growth Fund investment of $20m has boosted spending on Tairawhiti local roads (excluding state highways) to a record high of $65.8m, Gisborne District Council says.

That was an increase of $9m from the 2018-19 financial year and a massive $37m up from 2017-18.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said the benefits of the PGF investment have been immeasurable.

“Our local road network has never seen investment like this. Five years ago the annual investment into our road network was $25m. We're now working with nearly three times that amount,” she said.

Emergency and maintenance works across the region accounted for nearly half of the PGF investment last year, focussed on improving resilience to weather events with culvert upgrades, bridge repairs, retaining walls, drainage and re-metalling.

The Gisborne central business district also got a facelift in time for the 2019 Te Ha commemorations, Waimata Valley Road received a seal extension and Rakaiatane Road, the city's only access to the port, had a $4m surface upgrade.

“The social and economic impacts of an increase like this benefit our whole community. If we look back to before the PGF investment started, it was a very different picture from what we're seeing now.

“Our roads are in much better shape, enabling our region to grow and whanau to get to school and work, and we've ensured our local contractors have received the support to grow sustainably into the future. I'm extremely proud of what we have achieved so far.

“Roading has become an attractive new career for so many local people. The resilience of our region is stronger because of the PGF and we've attracted more investment because as a region, we can move quickly and deliver.”

The objective of the PGF investment is to unlock the region's economic potential, support local businesses and create quality jobs and training opportunities. Up to 200 local people are working on PGF-funded projects every month, a number that continues to grow.

GDC will complete a further $20m of PGF-funded projects before the end of this year.

SHOVELS READY: The Eastland Asphalts team have been busy on the kerbing for the $3.2m Aerodrome Road upgrade. (Left to right): Robbie Hall, George Karika, Leonard Torrefiel, Allen Wildbore and Andy McPhail. Picture supplied