The Provincial Growth Fund will invest $2.074 million to repair erosion damage to the seawall at Westport Airport to ensure the airport is maintained as a crucial connection, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.
Erosion damage as a result of Cyclone Fehi in 2018 has meant that 300 metres of the approximately 700 metre seawall has collapsed, leaving only a 58 metre clearway on one side of the runway.
“Because Westport Airport is an important gateway into and out of the Buller District, tenders for this work will be called urgently. It has approximately 10,000 passengers per year on both commercial and recreational flights, as well as air ambulance landings and military training operations,” Shane Jones said.
Minister for Rural Communities and MP for the West Coast Damien O’Connor, said “the airport in Westport is a core infrastructural asset and it’s loss would be a huge step back for the district and the region. It’s a vital and convenient link to the North Island for West Coasters. That’s why the PGF, which supports the ongoing development and viability of the regions, has stepped in to fund this. It’s a great service in and out of there for Westport people and I’m really thrilled that an investment is being made to ensure that service continues uninterrupted.”
Shane Jones, added, “Investing in this resilience infrastructure will provide the Buller District with a strong foundation for growth, and will preserve crucial connections to the rest of New Zealand
“The Buller District is one of the most isolated areas in New Zealand, and its people have to access vital services. This investment will keep the community connected and enable future growth”.
Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated. Some funding may depend on completion of business cases. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.