ICC asks: Extra Money for City Block?

Invercargill City Council is asking its community: should we invest extra money in the city block?

At a meeting on Monday, Councillors agreed to seek feedback from the community on further investment in the city block development.

At this stage, Council’s preferred option is to invest a further $16million in the development, and to invest the $5m it had set aside for design changes after previous consultation – a total additional investment of $21m.

This would bring Council’s total investment in the development to $46m – made up of the $20m already committed and $5m set aside for contingencies approved during the Your Money For City Block Consultation, plus the new investment proposed.

This extra investment would be loan-funded.

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt said Council was honouring its commitment to ratepayers that any further investment would be consulted on before decisions were made.

“We have been advised that this further investment would not have a direct impact on rates – thanks to the low cost of borrowing,” Sir Tim said.

“As your elected members, we have previously recognised your desire for a bright and vibrant CBD by committing to investing up to $30 million in this development. Now, we want to make sure it goes ahead, and we believe the only way to do this is to make a further contribution.”

When investment was first proposed, two private investors had already committed to the development. Since then, one of those investors decided to withdraw part of their investment, leaving a shortfall of $16m.

While all parties have explored options for other investors to cover the shortfall, none have been found.

The project developers have advised Council that without this extra investment from us, the project is unlikely to proceed.

Sir Tim said Councillors felt this was not an acceptable outcome for the community or the city.

“We need to continue to support economic and population growth for this great little city of ours.

“We believe this is the way to do it,” he said.

Consultation will open at 10am on Tuesday, 19 May, when lots of further information, including other possible options, will be available on Council’s website.

Everyone is encouraged to have their say before 12 June, when consultation closes.