Are you Riverlink-Ready?
Last week Waka Kotahi announced AECOM-Fletcher as the preferred alliance to deliver this much-anticipated project to the Hutt Valley. Although contracts are yet to be finalised and signed, this is a major milestone for a project for which many in the Valley have spent years campaigning.
RiverLink is much more than a roading project to ease congestion at the Melling Bridge. As well as improving safety for motorists and cyclists by replacing the Melling interchange, RiverLink will improve flood protection, develop better transport connections and improve access to the Hutt River/Te Awa Kairangi. It is hoped that these elements will help to revitalise the city centre.
As a firm that has had its roots in Lower Hutt since the 1927, Gibson Sheat is very excited to be watching RiverLink’s progress.
A precursor to some of the construction works is Waka Kotahi and Greater Wellington Regional Council acquiring land along the river corridor. In some instances such acquisition is necessary to accommodate the realignment of the stop bank. In others, existing buildings need to be demolished to make way for new roading infrastructure.
Although compensation is payable when land is acquired under the Public Works Act 1981, the disruption to the land owner (and, potentially, their tenant) can be significant. We are proud to have been involved in the process that has enabled Waka Kotahi and Greater Wellington Regional Council to acquire some of the necessary properties for the RiverLink project.
Unquestionably, RiverLink is a huge project for the Hutt Valley, but it is only part of an estimated $2.7 billion in local and central government projects across the Hutt Valley coming online over the next decade. This work is expected to lead to the creation of around 4,500-6,750 jobs.
We know from our association with the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce that the Chamber has been working hard to connect businesses involved in RiverLink to their future employees through the establishment of a Jobs and Skills Hub in the Hutt Valley.
What else does RiverLink mean for Hutt Valley businesses?
Some businesses will be contracted directly to work on the RiverLink project. That may mean:
- Understanding their contract terms with AECOM-Fletcher Alliance.
- Growing their workforce by hiring more staff and/or engaging contractors.
- Leasing additional office, workshop and warehouse space.
- Reviewing their supply contract terms to help ensure the uninterrupted supply of materials for manufacturing.
- Partnering with other providers to share procurement of materials where buying in large volume can have economies of scale.
Other businesses, although not directly involved in RiverLink, may benefit from an increase in economic activity in the Valley brought on by the new jobs and from more people working (and potentially living) in the area. Those business owners might need to think about:
- Hiring more staff to meet increased demand.
- Reviewing their lease terms to make sure that they have security of tenure to sustain them through a period that might see increased competition for commercial space.
- Reviewing their lease terms to see what their options might be if they out-grow their space (and, if the lease terms are rigid, whether an early exit could be negotiated).
- Think about they can overcome the inevitable disruptions that may have a negative impact on business. This could include the loss of spaces at Riverbank Carpark, noise and dust from the construction works, disruptions to traffic flows).
If you need someone to help guide you and your business through this exciting time for the Hutt Valley, please contact Malcolm Galloway or Dave Robinson (Property, Business and Commercial) or Helen Brown (Construction) – we would be happy to chat.