$650 million ‘shovel ready’ project list submitted to Government

15 April 2020

A list of 10 ‘shovel ready’ construction projects, totalling almost $650 million and potentially generating more than 2200 jobs, has been compiled by Wellington City Council in response to a Government call for initiatives that can be funded to help the country’s economic bounce-back from Covid-19.

Image of the space that will be used for the arts wall

The ‘shovel ready’ (able to start construction within 6 months) projects are:

  • Omāroro Reservoir, Mt Cook. This $52 million quake-resistant reservoir is fully-consented. When completed it will hold 35 million litres of water to supply 70,000 people in the CBD and adjoining low-lying areas.   
  • Flood-protection schemes in Hunter Street (CBD), Kilbirnie and Tawa – $47 million total. These projects aim to stop flooding in low-lying areas – the Hunter Street and Kilbirnie areas are also facing problems associated with sea-level rise.
  • CBD wastewater upgrades – this $31 million project aims to strengthen the wastewater network in the Te Aro area and take into account its rising population.
  • Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre – preliminary work on this $180 million 5-star green-rated building has begun.
  • St John’s site redevelopment (Karori) – $25 million. This could feature a mix of housing units and commercial space.
  • Harrison Street and Nairn Street social housing developments – two new-build projects, worth $17 million in total, to provide 47 social housing units (232 bed spaces).
  • National Music Centre – in Te Ngākau Civic Square. This will involve the $84 million strengthening and reconfiguration of the existing 1950s Municipal Office Building to provide teaching and office space for the NZSO and Victoria University.
  • Wellington Museum (Queens Wharf) – $31 million strengthening of the grade 1 heritage-listed Bond Store and internal revamp to transform the museum visitor experience.
  • City Housing upgrade programme – $180 million over 10 years. This will continue the ongoing upgrade of the Council’s social-housing stock, by improving kitchens, bathrooms, insulation, heating and ventilation.
  • Island Bay cycleway – $14 million project to further improve the cycleway with an emphasis on safety for cyclists, residents and pedestrians.

Mayor Andy Foster says a priority for the Council is to ensure the projects would, as much as possible, provide work for small and medium-sized contractors and subcontractors. He says that, collectively, the projects could directly employ more than 2,200 workers.

The Council has also identified and submitted a list of Future Projects (able to start in 6-18 months) as well as Programmes & Pipeline packages of work, totalling hundreds of millions of dollars, which will help provide longer-term and sustainable economic recovery across multiple sectors.

These projects are:

  • Frank Kitts Park and Play Space. Importantly this includes strengthening the carpark used by the Underground Market.
  • Southern Landfill sludge dewatering plant – redevelopment
  • Granville Flats redevelopment (Social Housing) – Berhampore
  • Te Ngākau Civic Precinct
  • TSB Arena revamp – this is important to attract and retain events
  • Wellington Trail Initiatives – including potential partnership with the private sector
  • CBD Laneways and Innovating Streets.

A further pipeline of water, resilience, environmental and community projects is proposed for following years.

Mayor Foster says “Wellington already had very significant infrastructure needs before the Covid-19 pandemic, such as coping with growth, resilience and connectivity. Affordability of that programme was already challenging.”

“Covid’s impact on our economy makes the Government’s willingness to assist even more critical than it already was. We have worked very quickly but carefully to put this package of 10 potential Wellington shovel ready investments together for consideration as well as projects that could keep employment and activity going over the next few years.”

He says the projects will, collectively, be essential to economic recovery and provide significant social, cultural and environmental benefits while contributing to sustaining and creating post-lockdown employment.

Additionally, Council has also been working with the Greater Wellington Regional Council and the other councils in the region to submit a joint Wellington Region submission, along with a letter submitted by the Programme Director of Let’s Get Wellington Moving on behalf of the Programme partners: NZTA, GWRC and Wellington City Council.

Mayor Foster says the $490 million Let’s Get Wellington Moving proposals seek to accelerate a comprehensive package of walking, cycling and public transport projects that will collectively accelerate a significant mode shift towards a lower carbon economy. 

Deputy Mayor Sarah Free says many of the shovel ready projects are at risk of not proceeding for quite some time, not only as a result of the escalating costs of construction but also because the Council will need to prioritise where money is spent to offset the impact of the pandemic on its revenues, operations and functions. 

“We think they are all, for various reasons, important projects and we look forward to the Government coming to the party to help businesses and workers in the city and region.

“We are putting forward the strongest possible case to ensure Wellington City and our wider region is well placed to take advantage of the financial assistance that is on offer.”

Mayor Foster says the projects are in line with the type of infrastructure development work the Government is trying to identify and kick-start.

“The Council welcomes this invitation to submit these projects and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure their delivery and the economic recovery of Wellington, the region and the country.

“We also look forward to discussing longer term projects, as well as programmes and pipelines of work that will sustain the economy over many years to come.”

Read the full report here (PDF 1MB).