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Picton's economic future looking bright thanks to new development.

The economic future of Picton is looking bright, thanks to the new ferry terminal development, which will create jobs, inject cash into local businesses and provide confidence for further local investment.

The multimillion dollar project was approved in May, with the consenting process fast-tracked due to its ability to contribute to New Zealand’s post COVID-19 economic recovery.

According to KiwiRail application documents, the project which is due to start next year, is expected to generate more than 300 jobs, involved both directly and indirectly with the redevelopment.

Marlborough deputy mayor Nadine Taylor, who lives in Picton, says the ferry terminal development will bring an economic boost to the town and confirms the future of Picton as the southern link in the national north-south transport route.

“The influx of construction workers and contractors into Picton will be a huge boost for our local retailers, cafes, restaurants and accommodation providers, not to mention the indirect opportunities for job creation,” Nadine says.

“These businesses were among the hardest hit after our borders closed last year as the world grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic, so it will be a huge boost for them as the tourism industry recovers.”

The ferry terminal development brings more than just economic benefits, she says.

“The other side of the story that Picton residents are really excited about is the improvement in our air quality,” she says. “The new electric hybrid ships will be much cleaner and quieter and from day one are expected to reduce the Interislander’s emissions by 40 per cent.”

Then there is the question of housing for all these extra people. Tall Poppy Picton and Marlborough Sounds owner Grant Douglas says house prices in Picton are very strong currently, due to a shortage in supply and high demand - particularly as people from the main centres look to the regions for more affordable housing opportunities.

With a combination of local hotels, motels and camping grounds, plus rental and holiday properties, Picton and Blenheim should have no problem housing temporary workers, Grant says.

“With this additional competition for housing, we’re unlikely to see house prices or rental incomes drop from their current values,” he says.

 The World Bank estimates that every 1% of GDP that is invested in a country's infrastructure stock goes along with an additional 1% increase in the GDP level.

“By itself, this has a large positive impact on the real estate market, as prices tend to rise along with GDP growth,” Grant says.

“This big budget redevelopment will not only continue to bolster our region’s economic performance, it has the opportunity to further boost Picton’s profile for tourism, improve traffic flow in and out of town and enhance the flow between the ferry terminal and CBD for our visitors.”