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Thursday 18 July, 2019
In the past week, we were very pleased to learn that the Government will be investing $739,945 from its Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF) to help Council upgrade the Rakaia Salmon site on State Highway One.Combining this significant investment with the Council’s contribution of $197,590 plus a generous $20,000 backing from the Rakaia Lions Club, we will now be able to move ahead with the installation of new toilets and landscaping, which is a fantastic outcome for this site.
As the gateway to the Ashburton District from the north, Rakaia is the first town to welcome visitors to our slice of Canterbury. The giant salmon statue is an iconic feature in our district and accompanied with the playground, conveniences and electric vehicle charging stations, the site is a very popular stop-off for travellers.First impressions last, and to that end, it’s important we are putting our best foot forward and are leaving visitors with great memories of their experiences in our district.
Upgrading the site with new conveniences and updating the playground, rubbish bins, lighting and signage is a wonderful opportunity to ensure the site continues to draw people in and provide them with positive experiences while they are with us.
This tourism funding announcement is a big win for our community. In fact, of the $2.4 million announced for Canterbury projects, the funding for this upgrade was the second-highest amount awarded, second only to an application for a number of public toilets to be installed in the Hurunui District.We know that tourism is a major player in the national economy, estimated to have contributed $15.9 billion to our Gross Domestic Product in 2018 alone.On a local level, our most recent Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor report showed that the district’s tourism sector has experienced a solid year, with expenditure in the year to April 2019 up by three percent, totalling $179 million.The numbers tell a positive story about what we have to offer visitors and their desire to spend time and money here. That is why this latest funding announcement is such a positive development.It is an acknowledgment from the Government that the Ashburton District plays an important role in providing attractions and experiences for national and international visitors. It also reflects a desire to see us grow and further succeed.We anticipate that the work at the Rakaia Salmon site will be completed by April 2020, so keep an eye out in coming months as work gets underway.