News: Eastern Bay growth will be felt for generations


Today’s [subs 25 February 2020] Provincial Growth Fund announcement for the Kawerau Rail Terminal is a significant milestone for the entire Eastern Bay of Plenty sub region and marks a ‘generational change’ for local communities.

As a “surge region” the EBOP has had extra focus from central government’s Provincial Development Unit and as a result there has been a flurry of activity to secure funding for core growth initiatives. With focussed central government funding, Toi EDA and partner’s objective of creating 7,000 jobs in the EBOP over the next 10 years is well on the way to becoming a reality.

David Turner is the Managing Director of Sequal Lumber, Chair of Toi EDA, and a cornerstone customer of the Kawerau Putauaki Industrial Development. David sees nothing but a bright future for the town and for the entire region.
“By creating meaningful jobs, removing 100,000 truck movements from the roads every year, and creating a multi-sector hub for innovative businesses, this investment in the rail terminal and associated infrastructure is a game changer for the entire region,” Mr Turner said.

The funding announcement is also welcomed by Toi EDA’s General Manager, Karl Gradon, and supports the strategic initiatives that Toi EDA has invested in in anticipation of the funding announcements.

“This is one of the four priority projects identified in last year’s economic development study. We call them the four catalytic clusters because together they are transformative for growth in the eastern Bay. The four clusters are the newly-funded Kawerau-Putauaki Industrial Development and also High Value Horticulture, Tourism and Marine Sectors, and Aquaculture.

“This outcome shows the value of the intensive work we have put in to a collaborative and strategic approach to funding,” Mr Gradon said.

Toi EDA has already established workforce programmes in anticipation of the funding, such as the establishment of the Driver Operator Training Centre to train local driver and operator skills, and logistics and warehousing.

“We have been working in the background with communities to ensure that our region is ready for the changes that this infrastructure will bring and to reduce the ‘lag’ that can often accompany a funding announcement of this type. Our Workforce Development Manager, Barbara MacLennan has been working with partners to ensure people know the opportunities emerging and that  they can gain the  skills and qualifications they need right here in the Eastern Bay. We have also been working with industry and councils to better understand and plan for the coming growth so that together we are in a good position to hit the ground running,” Mr Gradon said.

Toi EDA is looking forward to further announcements in the near future.