Three Waters Better Off Funding: projects across Nelson to benefit

27/08/2022 9:23am

A City Centre playground, lighting on the Railway Reserve, and Nelson’s arts community could all benefit from more than $5m of Better Off Funding awarded to Nelson as part of the Three Waters reform.

Elected members voted to allocate seven different projects in a Better Off funding application at the Council meeting held on Thursday, 25 August. The seven projects and the amounts allocated to them are: 

  • City Centre Playground - $2.5m 
  • Lighting the Railway Reserve – $1.1m 
  • Putting the Arts and Creativity Strategy into action – $1.1m 
  • Iwi engagement capacity - $350k 
  • Community car sharing scheme - $55k 
  • Whai Oranga Wellbeing Centre – business case - $75k 
  • Urban Development Agency (joint project with Tasman District Council )- $75k

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says the funding represents a significant investment in the future of our City and Nelson’s wellbeing but is not related to the support package that will be provided by Central Government following the recent weather event. 

“Given the devastating effects of the flooding and slips last week, Council felt strongly that we should move ahead with our plans for this funding. These are projects that will brighten Nelson's future – bringing life to our City Centre, encouraging active transport, supporting our creative sector, and building iwi capacity.  

“Recovering from the weather event is a huge infrastructure challenge that will be backed by financial support from Central Government, but it’s important that we don’t let other important aspects of our development stand still.” 

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), who are responsible for organising the Better Off Funding, offered to extend the deadline given to Council in case it was not possible to hold a full Council meeting in time for the deadline. 

As it will take time to fully understand the impact of the weather event and gather information about costs, projects and infrastructure priorities it made sense to put the projects in this package forward that can benefit the City in the short term. 

“We were able to organise and focus on this opportunity as we urgently need this investment in our City,” says Mayor Reese. 

The Better Off Funding package set aside $2bn for Councils to invest in community wellbeing. Nelson was awarded $5.18m from the initial $500m and our application, which will be combined with Tasman District Council, will be sent in September. The remaining $1.5bn (from which Nelson is allocated $15.54m) is available from 1 July 2024.  

Project Details: 

A City Centre Playground 
One of the aims of Te Ara o Whakatu, Nelson’s City Centre Spatial Plan, is to bring more play to our City Centre for children and adults. A new urban play space will make the City Centre more welcoming for rangatahi and whanau, and even encourage more people to live centrally. 

Lighting the Railway Reserve 
Council’s Active Transport Strategy aims to extend and improve our network of footpaths, cycle lanes and shared pathways. The aim is to encourage more people to walk or cycle and reduce car journeys. The benefits will be a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, less congestion, and a more people-focused city. 

The Railway Reserve is one of the main cycling and walking routes in our region, linking Richmond, Stoke and Nelson up for cyclists and walkers. The Long Term Plan 2021-31 has budget for lighting between St Vincent Street and the Beatson, and the Better Off Funding will allow us to extend this from Annesbrook to Saxton Field. 

Putting the Arts and Creativity Strategy into action 
This funding is split three ways. $500k will go towards Toi Maori, increasing the amount of Maori art in the city and providing a highly visible tangata whenua identity for Nelson. 

$400k for a Creative Tourism Winter Festival encouraging visitors to Nelson outside of the peak tourist season, and promotion of creative industries such as pottery, dance, theatre and writing. 

$100k fund for artists creating city activation projects. This would be split into grants of between $5k and $10k for things like live music, live theatre, or murals. 

Iwi engagement capability 
This project will improve the ability of iwi to engage fully with a wide range of Council projects. 

Community Car Sharing scheme 
This project has already begun and work to procure a provider is underway. Once in place it will contribute to Council’s goal to create a more sustainable transport system, and make living without a car in our City Centre more feasible. Better Off funding will go towards promoting the new car scheme to help ensure it is a success. 

Whai Oranga Wellbeing Centre 
This centre will focus on the social and cultural wellbeing and mental health of Maori in Nelson. This is an opportunity to work alongside the Maori Health Authority to take a different approach to improving the lives of Maori in Nelson. 

Urban Development Agency 
A feasibility study into an Urban Development Agency with Tasman District Council would investigate options for more affordable housing development options.