Council allocates $4.7 million
South Waikato District Council has allocated $4.7 million, much of it provisionally, towards 15 economic and community development projects submitted during the recent $5 million application consultation process.
"Council received a total of 43 applications requesting over $15 million," said Ben Smit, Deputy Chief Executive. "A handful of the successful projects are fairly straightforward and will be provided with funding immediately after appropriate invoice documentation is received. For the most part however, groups or project sponsors will need to do further business planning and other investigation/clarification work in order to uplift the funds."
Council will be liaising with these groups directly. Stringent accountability and monitoring processes will be put in place to ensure funds are spent appropriately and that the desired long term objectives for each project are achieved.
"Many of the applications posed some really neat initiatives," continued Mr Smit. "Council was very conscious of the level of economic and community impact that projects would have in the long term. This was a crucial factor in the decision making process. This funding was set aside to grow our economy and community; aligning with Council's two key strategic goals of facilitating job creation and promoting the district."
"The commitment, dedication and passion for their projects and the community from all the submitters was outstanding. The South Waikato is well served by such community minded people. Unfortunately not all projects could be funded. We know that groups that missed out will be disappointed," said His Worship the Mayor, Neil Sinclair. "Keep your dedication going; don't ever stop your tremendous efforts towards improving the lives of people in the South Waikato. Many of the ideas that were put forward would indeed add value to our social fabric, but funding them all was simply not possible."
"Councillors all evaluated each submission looking at nine criteria, always conscious of striking a balance between economic benefit and social values, while keeping our future demographic in mind. The key considerations during deliberations were to focus on projects that Council would not or could not normally fund, the longevity and sustainability of the initiative for the future viability of our district and the reach it would have to benefit the community at large," continued Mayor Sinclair.
"Remarkably there was a lot of uniformity in the selection, but I doubt if any one Councillor selected all those that received funding. The other debate was about the level of funding. In general it was agreed that we had to make sure that the project would be completed and that meant granting the full amount where ever we could," he concluded.
Of the nine projects put forward by Council itself during the consultation phase, three projects will receive funding. These include the road/rail terminal initiative, pensioner housing and the Leith Place refurbishment.
An additional four projects that were raised in a number of applications have also secured funding, however Council will be taking the lead on these, some in collaboration with the groups and other interested parties. The funding will remain in house initially; bringing the total of Council-led projects to seven.
These additional projects include:
- Nutrient and waste stream management investigation/project (following an application that looked at further developing sustainable dairying). Council does not yet have an exact scope for this project, but has allocated funding and will work with the sector leaders to further enhance our sustainable dairy farming in the South Waikato. It is extremely important that the district maintains and has the potential to grow our dairy sector while strongly supporting the reduction of nutrient run off into our waterways. The dairy sector is the district's largest income contributor.
- Improvements to Te Waihou Walkway to enhance the level of service (following an application from the Waikato River Trails Trust)
- Scope and potentially implement a public transport service (following several like-minded applications). Council will lead discussions with interested parties as to how best to identify the current services and determine the real need for public transport. After this, Council will decide whether it will fund the purchase of vehicles. Council may well ultimately not be the lead on this project.
- Additional planting at Lake Moananui (following an application on behalf of Forest and Bird). Funds will remain in Council and will be spent in collaboration with the Friends of the Lake Group (on which Forest and Bird sit).
The successful applications are listed below:
|Project leader||Summary||Funding allocated|
|Tokoroa road/rail terminal project||Council and partners Kiwirail, Land Transport New Zealand and RJ Lincoln||Construct a road/rail terminal in Tokoroa; consisting of a rail siding and container loading and unloading facility that will be available to the district's business community.||$770,000 (plus additional funding from other sources)|
|Leith Place refurbishment||Council||Refurbish Leith Place/Tokoroa CBD, including information centre, toilets, and the surrounding links to the wider CBD.||$1,000,000 (plus $500,000 already allocated in the 2014-15 budget)|
|Pensioner housing||Council||Increase the number of pensioner housing units in the district.||$950,000|
|Rangiura retirement village and home for the elderly expansion||Rangiura Trust Board||Contribute funding toward stage 1 of Rangiura Trust's plan to add 11 beds, a new kitchen, dining and lounge and upgrade the community hall, lobby and kitchen.||$650,000|
|Cougar Park upgrade, marketing and promotion||Tokoroa Mountain Bike Club Inc.||Develop existing and new tracks, facilities and signage and improve marketing to increase exposure of Cougar Park.||$350,000|
|South Waikato Motorcross Track upgrade||South Waikato Motorcycle Club||Contribute to the upgrade of South Waikato Motorcross Track in order to attract riders, of all levels, to Tokoroa.||$50,000|
|Tirau Walkway||Tirau Community Board||Develop a walkway from the Tirau township to the Tirau Domain.||$230,000|
|Te Waihou Walkway upgrade||Council||Implement a track upgrade to enhance the quality of the walkway for locals and visitors to support the growing increase of visitors.||$151,000|
|Tokoroa High School Services Academy expansion||Tokoroa High School Service Academy||Provide vehicles so that funding can be moved to increasing the number of students who can benefit from the Services Academy.||$100,000|
|Lake Moananui revegetation||Council||Work with the Lake Moananui Steering Group (and Friends of the Lake Group) to support the on-going re-vegetation of Lake Moananui.||$20,000|
|Future nutrient and waste stream management/agriculture project development||Funds held within Council, collaborative project, leader not yet known||Council does not yet have an exact scope for this project but has allocated funding and will work with the sector leaders to further enhance sustainable dairy farming in the South Waikato.||$50,000|
Trade Training Centre
|Tokoroa Trade Training Centre - Steering Group||Develop and introduce a new welding course (includes equipment purchase) for the Trade Training Centre. This will complement the existing engineering and auto-engineering courses already on offer.||$120,000|
|Former Masonic Hall alternations for St John Youth Putaruru||Order of St John Putaruru||Contribute to the upgrade of the former Masonic Hall to allow it to be used for training the St John's Youth Group.||$75,000|
|Tokoroa Hospice||Tokoroa Community Hospice Trust||New equipment, including beds, mattresses and other equipment necessary to help meet the demand for people wanting to be cared for at home.||$28,000|
|Public transport district wide (scoping study and implementation funding)||Funds held within Council, collaborative project, leader not yet known||Project to include the identification of the current services and determining the real need for public transport. After this, Council will decide whether it will fund the purchase of vehicles. Council resolved funding based on points made in several applications; support is needed from the community on this project.||$200,000|
A few initially unsuccessful applicants have been given the opportunity to re-scope and refine their projects for future funding. All other unsuccessful applicants have the opportunity to put forward their ideas as part of the Long Term Planning 2015-25 process. This will be open for public consultation in March/April next year.
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