Help Hamilton get through Lockdown
Hamilton City Council recently announced phase one of a two-phase recovery plan for our city so we can support and rebuild Hamilton after COVID-19.
Phase one provided $1 million for social services, authorised early payments to suppliers, approved consent fees relief and refunds and signed off on development contributions relief and support for small to medium size businesses.
We also agreed to fund an emergency response effort and to waive rent for community groups, sports clubs and other businesses until June 2020.
All up the total phase-one package is costed at $3.4 million, aimed at supporting vital community organisations and providing immediate hardship relief.
I am pleased to see this contribution is already helping to reach some of the most affected people at this tough time.
Moving Beyond Lockdown
We all know that people and businesses are struggling. People have become unemployed and businesses have or will close. This will create hard times for many Hamiltonians.
We know we must play our part in helping the community rebuild, to create jobs and income, to help businesses survive and rebuild a strong economy.
Government announced it will support infrastructure projects that are 'shovel-ready'; meaning they are ready to go as soon as the construction industry returns to normal.
We're formally seeking Government support to kick-start public transport, rail and bus interchange projects in our city as well as extending walking and cycling options. These projects will allow us to prioritise key bus routes, extend our cycling network and provide better walking routes. Potentially it may also lay the foundation for an urban rail system between Hamilton and the towns and communities that surround us.
We've asked for specific Government support for investment in transport (not just roads) and three waters (water, wastewater, stormwater) infrastructure around Ruakura so we can bring forward commercial and residential development.
We have sought support for projects like the Southern Links transport network and three waters infrastructure including a new wastewater plant for the south of the city and beyond. This would quickly accelerate private development already underway around the Peacocke/Hamilton Airport/Cambridge area – potentially addressing some of challenges we face in terms of affordable housing.
Building a Sustainable Future
While nothing has been confirmed, councillors have been adamant that projects we pitch must contribute positively to a more sustainable future for the city.
Anything we put up will take into account the city's environmental, social, cultural and economic well-being and that includes putting a green lens on what we'll be asking Government to support.
As part of major infrastructure projects, specific proposals will include bringing forward a city-wide, child-friendly, separated cycling network to enable cyclists to ride from the central business district to anywhere in the city within 20 minutes.
That project also proposes more tree planting in the city and some stormwater initiatives. Parts of Hamilton's gully network could also be transformed through the creation of walking and cycling routes. This work would include clearing bush, predator and weed control, and the mass planting of locally-sourced, indigenous species.