A second river crossing for Whakatāne has made it onto a list of potential future growth projects for the region.
Whakatāne District Council's infrastructure and planning committee agreed Thursday on its Transport Activity Management Plan, to be submitted to Waka Kotahi as part of the Regional Land Transport Plan process.
The 10-year plan is a key document for councils seeking funding from the National Land Transport Programme.
It sets out, along with costs of maintaining the current level of service, cost of growth projects.
A total of $2.5 million is needed over the next 10 years to create a business plan and enabling works for an additional river crossing for Whakatāne, a report to the committee said.
The report to the committee, by infrastructure general manager Bevan Gray, said the plan had been developed by the council's transport team with input from elected members.
He noted that the summary excluded the standard cost escalations.
While the inclusion of the river crossing will be welcomed by the 344 people who signed a petition in October this year asking the council to prioritise its spending toward a new bridge, it by no means makes the project a certainty.
The recommendation from staff that the committee voted on noted that there would still be opportunities through the council's Long Term Plan process to make adjustments to the plan, if required.
Whakatāne resident Raewyn Kingsley Smith started the petition during the council's consultation over a master plan for the Rex Morpeth Recreation Hub.
That master plan could see the council spend between $75 million and $154 million on sporting and other recreational facilities.
The petition stated that a new bridge for Whakatāne should be prioritised over all other spending.
Kingsley Smith said a new crossing for the Whakatāne River would make the town ready for pending emergencies such as tsunami or floods.
Mayor Victor Luca has also been an advocate for a new bridge for Whakatāne.
Another project included in the funding plan for 2024 to 2034 was $7.9 million for a Shaw Road-Mill Road connection.
The project was advocated by Eastern Bay residents when Waka Kotahi consulted on safety improvements to State Highway 30 between Whakatāne and Awakeri.
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