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Some news from action plan update to GDC

Opinion Piece

An update on the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan presented to councillors for their meeting yesterday contained some news on important projects for the district.

A potential anchor tenant for the former Prime sawmill is expected to complete due diligence by the end of this month. If agreement can be reached, they are looking to take over the site in February 2018.

Commissioning has also begun for the Wood Engineering Technology (WET) joint venture at the site, to demonstrate capability to operate at small scale. This is expected to be completed by March 2018. Securing capital for full-scale WET, recommissioning the Prime sawmill and attracting other wood processing opportunities is on track to be delivered by June 2018.

Funding applications for research into a water recycling plant and waste management options for horticultural processing (including a waste compaction plant, bio gas plant and fertiliser/soil conditioner plant) have been declined by the Ministry for the Environment, and are now being discussed with NZ Trade and Enterprise.

A strategic plan for developing the region’s manuka honey sector is expected to be completed by March 2018. One aim is to develop a scalable extraction, storage, processing and bottling facility in-region and under a regional brand. Others are to establish an East Coast manuka nursery, and a regional manuka honey research institute. A honey collective has been formed that starts out with 2200 hives, EIT now offers an NZ Certificate in Apiculture, and a database of potential apiary sites has been developed.

A series of major projects are under way in the tourism sphere, many targeted for completion before October 2019 and the 250th anniversary of Maori and Europeans’ first meetings here.

Plans are being developed for an upgrade of the Gisborne Airport terminal, with community consultation to begin soon.

An integrated transport plan for the region will be completed next month, with NZTA writing a business case funded by central government.