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15/02/2019 11:00 a.m.
Friday 15 February, 2019
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."