Council to seek $5.24 million for community projects
Waipā District Council will seek $5.24 million in government funding for projects ranging from a feasibility study for a new Cambridge library to the Te Ara Wai land wars museum.
Government has developed a $2 billion ‘Better Off‘ fund to help pay for projects which help build resilience to climate change or natural hazards, enable housing development or support community improvements. The ‘Better Off’ fund was developed as part of Three Waters reform which Waipā District Council continues to strongly oppose.
Prior to today’s decision, Council sought and received an assurance that applying for money would not signal support for the government’s reform programme. Nonetheless, some Councillors today said opting to accept the money was difficult, given their position on water reform. Two councillors voted against the funding.
A community survey saw a slim majority of respondents support Council accessing the funding. However, a request from mana and iwi for funding to accelerate papakāinga – communal living on ancestral land – will not form part of the funding application. Instead a District Plan Change to enable more papakāinga is likely to be brought forward and loan-funded from existing budgets.
Today’s decision means Council will apply for funding for these projects: Te Ara Wai land wars museum ($1.7m); resource recovery centre ($1.235m); Lake Ngā Roto management plan ($360k), Waipa CCTV network ($400k); Te Awamutu to Pirongia cycleway ($1.295m); Cambridge library feasibility study ($250k).
Other funds needed for the proposed resource recovery centre would come from the waste levy, administered by the Ministry for the Environment. The waste levy is used to promote waste minimisation.
A further round of funding, including $15.73 million ring-fenced for Waipā projects, has yet to open. Council has yet to decide whether or not it will be involved in the second funding round.