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News and information – Wellington councils draw down first green loans from Local Government Funding Agency

News and information - Wellington councils draw down first green loans from Local Government Funding Agency
Written by Publishing Team

Providing funding to local government since 2011, the LGFA is pleased that both Wellington councils are the inaugural recipients of the Green, Social, and Sustainability (GSS) Lending Scheme, which extends funding by a margin below standard LGFA loan rates.

LGFA CEO Mark Butcher says his agency recognized the risks climate change poses to councils and wanted to support their transition to a low-carbon economy.

“We also recognize that we have a role to play in helping member councils build a stronger and more resilient society through ambitious environmental and social projects.

“This lending will facilitate the local government sector to achieve green and sustainable results.”

Under the LGFA green building category, Wellington City Council will borrow up to $180 million to build Tākina, the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Center.

Scheduled to open in 2023, Takena has been awarded a 5-star design rating by the New Zealand Green Building Council for a design that reduces energy use by 60% and carbon emissions by 66% when compared to similar new buildings.

Andy Foster, Wellington Mayor, says features such as a rainwater harvesting system, smart air conditioning and improved thermal insulation will reduce Takena’s environmental impact as well as operating costs.

“The ratepayer GSS loan can provide up to $7.2 million in interest over the building’s 80-plus year life, adding to Takena’s green credentials already attracting conference bookings.

“Designed to the highest levels of seismic resilience using environmentally preferred materials, Tākina will feature displays that will show visitors real-time sustainability metrics, such as water and energy consumption, as well as carbon emissions.”

Borrowing under the LGFA Climate Change Adaptation category, the $227 million Greater Wellington GSS Loan will finance flood protection work on the RiverLink Project.

This includes upgrading temporary banks on both sides of the Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River, and deepening and widening the river channel to protect downtown Lower Hutt from the floods of 440 years.

In addition to protecting the city, flood protection work will enhance the environmental health of the waterway, says Darran Bunter, president of Greater Wellington.

“By making more room for the river, we can create more fish habitats, including ponds and lower banks — places where native trout, eels, and whitefish thrive.

“Valuation payers will also be pleased with the low cost of borrowing on the GSS loan, which can amount to savings of up to $113,000 annually over the 100-year life of the asset.”

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