Wellington business community urges Council to bring forward infrastructure construction
When Wellington City Council meets later today to consider the City’s annual plan and COVID-19 recovery, they must ensure that the outcome gets Wellington going again, says the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
"We need decisions that will restart economic activity, enable recovery, and remove the handbrake on business in our region," says John Milford, Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive.
Following a survey to businesses last week, the overwhelming feedback was infrastructure improvements must be prioritised.
"Infrastructure investment needs to brought forward, there is no doubt that this will help and support the post-lockdown economic recovery.
"Of those that had a view, an overwhelming 79 percent of businesses said that infrastructure construction in the next six months would help the city and support businesses and the economic recovery from COVID-19 impacts.
"The research also asked what infrastructure construction businesses believed would help with recovery. Improvements in the city’s water infrastructure was top of the list, with 42 percent of respondents wanting three-waters improvements brought forward. Just over 19 percent of respondents wanted to see new roading infrastructure brought forward, while 15 percent wanted footpath and cycling improvements to support social distancing.
"These are the need-to haves in a post-COVID environment.
"There is also no question that with a water infrastructure deficit, more investment is needed. There are several ‘shovel-ready’ water projects for the region that have been promoted by Council to the Government’s Infrastructure Industry Reference Group. But we can’t sit back and wait - the groundwork must happen now so we’re ready to go if approved.
"The City needs better roading corridors to ease traffic flows and accessibility. Wider footpaths and cycleways in certain parts of the city would also help reassure people that they were commuting safely. When it comes to modes of transport, we want to ensure people have the options available to them.
"Right now, the business community is looking for a plan. 50 percent of respondents to our survey said they will need more financial support over the next three to six months. 46 percent were unsure or need more advice and clarity.
"We urge the Council to focus on the task ahead of them, mindful on the current economic conditions. The business community needs to see actions and investment that will support the City to recover post-COVID."