Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, provided afternoon tea to say thank you on behalf of the community for the outstanding work of the three contracting crews currently installing footpaths in the Ōpōtiki township.

The footpath work has been funded by the Provincial Growth Fund’s $60m for job-creation projects in provincial areas which included almost $4.5m for new footpaths, cycleway extensions and horse trails in the Ōpōtiki District.

“The difference that these footpaths are making to the town is incredible. I feel really proud when I go down streets with the new footpaths – it makes such a difference visually and I have heard from a lot of locals that use mobility scooters or wheelchairs and strollers that the difference for them has been huge.

“There is also an in-fill lighting programme underway to ‘plug the gaps’ in our new LED lightning because it doesn’t spread as far as the old sodium ones. Together, our streets are looking better than ever,” Mayor Riesterer said.

The Mayor said that she spoke to a number of people at the afternoon tea who had been newly employed because of the footpaths contract or had found the new job after being made redundant through the last COVID-19 lockdown.

“The three contractors, Waiotahi, Delta and Wilson Bros, have done an outstanding job. They have brought on new staff and really focussed on upskilling people which is good to see. It is also reassuring for me because this work is here for the long term – it transitions from footpaths to harbour construction over the coming months and years. Real, sustainable jobs for locals is the perfect outcome,” Mayor Riesterer said.