R-funding deadline extended

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Nelson has been given a three year extension on spending its government-allocated R funding, in case the government decides to go ahead with the controversial Southern Link project.

The government R funding, or regional transport funds, were given to regions to help develop roads that wouldn’t meet the normal criteria. Tasman District Council spent the majority of its money on the new Ruby Bay bypass and Nelson has spent money on cycleway projects but still have the bulk of its $26 million to spend.

An upgrade of the Rai Saddle at a cost of $7.1 million and an upgrade of the Quarantine Rd intersection and a cost of $3.1 million are locked in and ready to start as soon as next year.

But the project that has sparked the extension is the proposed Rocks Rd cycling walkway. That’s because if the government investigation into the Southern Link shows that the new road should be built it will change the rules for the Rocks Rd upgrade.

Chair of the Nelson Regional Land Transport Committee, Eric Davy, says if the Southern Link was built then Rocks Rd would no longer be a state highway and the proposed boulevard could be much wider and done for far cheaper.

“Gives us time to breath, we don’t have to commit to a project that we may not have to proceed with. We’re very happy with the extension. It gives us the ability to make sure what we’re doing is the best that we can for the region.”

The new date that the money must be spent by is June 20, 2021. Originally the deadline was June 30, 2018.