$7.5 million Provincial Growth Fund a major boost for the district

15/02/2019 11:00 a.m.

Ashburton District Council is praising the Government's announcement today of a $7.5 million Provincial Growth Fund loan for a thermal pool and spa development in Methven as a tremendous win for the Ashburton District and wider Canterbury region.​

Councillors, along with the Chief Executive joined Minister for Regional Economic Development, Hon. Shane Jones in Methven today for the announcement. The $7.5 million Provincial Growth Fund loan will support the Opuke Thermal Pools and Spa development underway in the Mount Hutt ski town.

"This funding will provide an enormous boost to the Opuke Thermal Pools and Spa, helping to grow our local economy and support even greater year-round tourism in Methven and the district at ​​large."We are thrilled with todays announcement and are very excited for the opportunities this will open up for our district and the wider Canterbury region," Chief Executive Hamish Riach said.

Riach noted that Council has been a supporter of the application through the assessment process via both direct communication and the Canterbury Mayoral Forum. "It is very satisfying to see such a positive outcome," he added.

An economic benefits study estimates that the project will create 120 jobs, both directly and indirectly, and contribute an estimated $162 million to the local economy over 10 years.

Ashburton District Mayor Donna Favel, who was unable to attend the announcement due to prior commitments said, "The thermal pool facility will widen Methven's attractiveness outside of the winter ski months and help to create more sustained jobs that will encourage even more people to stay and live in the area."

A recent New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) report ranked Ashburton District as the 6th most desired district in New Zealand for business, and 12th for lifestyle. Mayor Favel emphasised that this project, and others like it, will assist in the attraction and retention of workers and improve lifestyle for all.

"Our district is a thriving hub for business and lifestyle opportunities. Although already renowned as the gateway to the award-winning Mount Hutt ski area, this funding will really help to seal Methven's place as a top tourism destination and choice of place to live," she said.

The Opuke Thermal Pools and Spa will be the first of its kind in New Zealand to be heated by solar power and produce no emissions.

Mayor Favel added, "The Methven community has demonstrated a great strategic mindset in searching for future economic benefits. We congratulate them on their proactive attitude, and thank the Minister, Shane Jones, for the Government's support of this nationally significant project. We welcome this tremendous investment in our region."​

Page reviewed: 29 Mar 2019 3:36pm