Growing Hamilton

Funding sought for central city infrastructure

Hamilton’s much talked about pedestrian and cycle bridge project could get a $29 million boost if a bid for government money is successful.

Hamilton City Council has put a $333.5 million proposal to Government’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund (IAF). The fund helps pay for core infrastructure so more housing can be built, faster, to address the national housing crisis.

Today Council formally approved a $333.5 million proposal to the IAF focusing on central city infrastructure. The bid aims to secure a piece of the $3.8 billion available and, if successful, will see a big increase in options for inner city living in Hamilton.

The pedestrian and cycle bridge project and associated connections play a key role in the city’s proposal, connecting the central city to surrounding neighbourhoods and making it easier for people to travel around Hamilton for work and play. Last week, the Infrastructure Operations Committee agreed to spend $300,000 to fully fund a business case for the bridge in an effort to secure Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency funding support. Council has already committed $11 million to the bridge project.

Other projects within the IAF proposal include $120 million for bulk water mains and a reservoir and booster pump station, $104 million for wastewater upgrades, $10 million to source a stormwater treatment device and an additional $50 million for transport improvements. This infrastructure will enable more than 20,000 new inner city dwellings to be built and will support residential and commercial development over the next 30 years.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said Council’s proposal was developed alongside inner city developers and social housing agencies. The bid is supported by $129.3 million of co-funding from Council and an estimated $100 million of direct infrastructure investment from the development community.

“We’re all on the same page. We all want more housing, faster, in our city,” Southgate said.

“But we cannot have more housing without more infrastructure that’s fit-for-purpose, so we need the Government to step up and show us the money to help make it happen. Right now there is an enormous gap between what we need to develop and what our ratepayers can afford. If successful, this proposal will go a long way in closing that gap and ensuring Hamilton can continue its role as a prosperous metro in the heart of our region.”

She said staff had worked hard to align the city’s proposal with regional strategies, Long-Term Plan budgets and the work already being done with developers.

“This proposal ticks every box. Hamilton is a high-growth city, and this bid meets a government directive to allow for greater height and denser housing close to jobs and community services.”

Alongside the central city proposal, Council also approved a separate bid for Rototuna North, seeking $20.8 million for the Borman Road extension and wastewater and stormwater services.

“While financially a smaller bid, our Rototuna North proposal will kick-start approximately 900 homes. It is supported by an additional $15.3 million of co-funding from Council and $8.7 million from developers,” Southgate said.

“Rototuna is well advanced in terms of planning and connecting infrastructure so there is a high degree of certainty that infrastructure work can begin in 2022. We’re hopeful this will make it a viable and attractive option for government funding.”

Council’s bids must be lodged by Friday.

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