Marton Rail Hub on track as planning gets under way February 19, 2021 Listen Progress towards the construction of the Marton Rail Hub is moving forward with planning consultants beginning work on the site. The development of the Marton Rail Hub was announced in early 2020 in a partnership between Rangitīkei District Council, Te Rūnanga O Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Provincial Development Unit and Rangitīkei Forestry Holdings. The rail hub project will set up the Rangitīkei District as a key logistical hub for the forestry industry across the Lower North Island. More than 80 jobs will be created during the construction phase and 22 full-time positions when operational. At a Rangitīkei District Council meeting in December, the tender for a planning consultant was awarded to firm WSP, in a move that allows the rail hub project to progress towards comprehensive development planning. Planning work and assessments on site, off Makirikiri Rd outside Marton, started this month. A governance board for the project was also appointed in December. Rangitīkei District Mayor Andy Watson said the appointments marked an exciting key milestone in moving the rail project forward. “The rail hub will significantly benefit our community, economy and iwi. It’s great to see progress being made as we get into the new year,” Watson said. “As we look at 2021 and the process of recovering from the impacts of COVID-19, we are motivated to continue pushing forward to turn this opportunity into reality.” Te Rūnanga o Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa Chairperson Pahia Turia said creating new jobs in the midst of a global pandemic was really exciting for the rohe and our whānau, hapū and iwi. “We are looking forward to the growth and development within our rohe, it will see significant development and opportunities within the Rangitīkei district,” Turia said. "Our Paiaka Matua, our values guide everything that we do. One of our Paiaka Matua is Kotahitanga - Unity. Working with others to achieve positive outcomes for everyone. We value relationships and partnerships, and are absolutely committed to ensuring sustainable and positive outcomes for whānau, hapū, iwi and our community.” In August, a $9.1 million investment managed by the Provincial Development Unit was announced through the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group, which helped identify infrastructure projects as part of the Government’s $3 billion COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Rangitīkei District Council has committed $225,000 to a District Plan Change process, which will allow the industrial build to take place on former farmland, if confirmed, and a further $525,000 to create roading and rail access. Rangitīkei Forestry Holdings will contribute $500,000 to the project, as well as building and commissioning a debarker facility at the site. Watson said Rangitīkei District Council was committed to ensuring the Marton Rail Hub project was beneficial to the community and was currently working to address the concerns raised in an appeal to the District Plan Change. A comprehensive development plan is due to be completed by April, which will determine the next steps for the project. Consultants assess the proposed site for the Marton Rail Hub, off Makirikiri Rd, as part of comprehensive development planning.