Porirua East will be the first area to benefit from the Governments $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund, unlocking $136 million to deliver and upgrade ailing sewerage, stormwater and water storage infrastructure.
As well as bolstering water capacity, it was hoped the investment will go some way to addressing the long-term degradation of Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour.
Yet the key take-home message from Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods on Tuesday was the much-needed investment would allow up to 2000 new homes to be built in Porirua East, the construction boon creating as many as 250 jobs when the first shovel breaks ground early next year.
There are 19,000 existing residents in Porirua East, with the area expected to grow steadily in coming years. (File photo)
The $136m is what we need to immediately get underway to begin work on the three projects around stormwater, the reservoir and also retention and sewage pipes. Were not kidding ourselves that this is job done, but this is what we need to do start building houses next year, Woods said.
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From left, Mana MP Barbara Edmonds, Porirua Mayor Anita Baker, Housing Minister Megan Woods, and Ngti Toa Rangatira chief executive Helmut Modlik at the announcement that Porirua East will be first to benefit from the Housing Acceleration Fund.
The minister, flanked by Ngti Toa chief executive Helmut Modlik, Porirua Mayor Anita Baker and Labours Mana MP Barbara Edmonds, offered assurances that when the new homes were completedthe areas 19,000 residentswont fall victim to gentrification and won’t be priced out of their own community.
We know that there [is] a vibrant community that really want to stay in that community, so that is an absolute known and recognised priority for us, Woods said.
Modlik said the iwi had already made a commitment to ensure Porirua Easts residents would be given an opportunity to remain there, adding it was already engaged with the Pacific community on making 400 Ngti Toa sections available for locals to lease and build on.
Baker said the new investment was huge for the city, enabling extra homes to be built that our people actually need.
Living Waters and Porirua Harbour Trust
Resource management scientist Juliet Milne talks about the impacts of stormwater contamination. For more mini-docos about Porirua Harbour, see livingwatersdoco.co.nz. First published May 2017.
There is a huge amount of activity on the housing front in Porirua, and there needs to be. We are growing fast, and both supply and affordability are tough challenges. Council, iwi, the Government and private developers all have vital roles to play, and each of those parties need to work together to overcome them, Baker said.
The Governments new investment will fund three key projects, including a new water reservoir at the end of Whitbys Stemhead Lane, and a stormwater project to address flooding, improving the capacity of the water supply network and significantly reducing raw sewerage discharged into local waterways, including the harbour.
The third project would see the replacement and upsizing of the 3-kilometre-long Bothamley Park wastewater pipe which runs from Ascot Park, through Waitangirua, Cannons Creek and Rnui and into the harbour. While the current pipe was in poor condition and unable to cope with current volumes, its replacement was expected to prevent raw sewage from leaking into both the harbour and Kenepuru Stream.
This is a win-win investment. Were addressing decades of under-investment in water infrastructure by replacing crumbling old pipes and unleashing the potential to build thousands of new homes in the process, Woods said.
The entrance to Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Puatahanui Inlet looking towards Papakwhai and boats at Mana Marina. (File photo)
The aim of the Housing Acceleration Fund, unveiled in 2018, was to unlock a mix of private sector and government-led developments in places facing the largest housing supply and affordability challenges, speeding up the pace and scale of home building.
Recognising that Poriruas water infrastructure was in dire need of upgrades, the minister expected to see further applications to the fund from the city in the future.
We know that there is more work to do here, Woods said.
Both Ngti Toa and Porirua City Council had assembled teams to prepare comprehensive applications to the acceleration fund for further infrastructure investment in the city, Modlik confirmed.
- CORRECTION: The infrastructure work is expected to be completed by 2026. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that new homes would be completed by 2026.(Amended July 13, 2021, 8.27pm)