The Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis has announced how the Government is allocating $19.6 million in funding for tourism infrastructure projects across the country through the second round of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Our Council has received more than $2 million of that money, for the following three projects: • $1,426,841 for an upgrade of visitor infrastructure in Hahei to respond to growing tourist numbers visiting nearby Cathedral Cove. • $467,500 for an upgrade of existing toilet and wastewater facilities at Whangapoua Beach, which is the last stop before heading to New Chum Beach. • $108,352 for the provision of public toilet facilities at Onemana Beach. In Hahei, the funding will provide for an additional 250 carparks at the Hahei Village Entrance Carpark on Hahei Beach Rd and improved walking connections between the carpark and the beach, through to Cathedral Cove. It will also pay for a new and improved toilet at the village shops close to the Hahei Community Hall. "The fact is that we can never have too much car parking at Hahei because of the increase in tourist numbers visiting Hahei beach and Cathedral Cove," says Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra. "We don't even promote the area because social media has taken care of that," Mayor Sandra says. "However, it is essential we get clear, consistent signage to Hahei Village and Cathedral Cove so that public and any private parking facilities are well used by visitors," Mayor Sandra says. The Hahei Visitor Entrance Carpark currently provides for 174 cars and 26 campervans as well as an existing toilet facility. This is presently the best place for visitors to park as they can leave their car and get a shuttle service up to the entrance of the Cathedral Cove walk. Over summer, the return park-and-ride shuttle fares from the carpark are $5 adults, $3 for children up to 15 years and $10 families. “This funding for the carpark extension will also help reduce the burden on our local ratepayers and bring forward tourist-related infrastructure that was otherwise unaffordable,” Mayor Sandra says. “We are still mindful that parking and road safety are key priorities for the safe movement of visitors through Hahei, while ensuring local businesses, tourist operators and communities are able to continue to enjoy living and doing business in one of the most sought after parts of our district." About the Tourism Infrastructure Fund The Tourism Infrastructure Fund provides up to $25 million per year for the development of tourism-related infrastructure such as carparks, freedom camping facilities, sewerage and water works and transport projects. The fund supports local communities facing pressure from tourism growth and in need of assistance - areas with high visitor numbers but small ratepayer bases, for example. A total of $19.6 million was awarded for round two. A further round is expected to be open on 1 March 2019. You can find out more about the Tourism Infrastructure Fund here.