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From a splash pad feasibility assessment to animal shelter enhancements, Masterton District Council [MDC] is gauging feedback on how it could spend $3.88 million of government funding.

In April, the government announced councils could apply for the first instalment of the Three Waters ‘Better Off’ funding from July 2022, with applications closing on September 30 2022.

The funding is a result of the agreement reached between Local Government New Zealand and the Crown last year.

Accessing this funding doesn’t preclude councils from holding a position on the reform.

MDC has shortlisted 11 projects that would meet the funding criteria and is now asking for feedback.

Council chief executive David Hopman said the feedback being sought focuses on two areas: should the council apply for the first instalment of ‘Better Off’ funding, and if so, which of the 11 proposed projects should be prioritised.

“The 11 options we have included for consideration came from a much longer list of projects council staff and elected members had put forward,” Hopman said.

“These were reviewed down to the projects we are asking for feedback on.

“There are strict eligibility criteria, so the options we are looking at are those that meet the criteria, and we think will make a difference for our community.

“We also need to balance the range of projects and make sure we can deliver the programme.”

Eligible projects must support community wellbeing, build resilience to climate change and natural hazards, or help housing development.

The 11 shortlisted projects are: targeted wastewater renewals [$1 million per year for two years]; Trust House Recreation Centre and War Memorial Stadium assessment, including the feasibility of a splash pad [$120,000]; mobile EV library [$350,000]; animal shelter enhancements [$500,000]; planting for biodiversity and fish passages [$200,000]; mana whenua partnership/climate resilience project [$575,000]; Seed funding to attract an on-demand bus service [$100,000]; urban safe active transport trails business case and detailed plans [$50,000]; air quality actions scope and business case [$100,000]; Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre project contribution [$200,000]; and climate change activator for three years [$250,000].
Masterton’s share of the funding across both instalments totals $15.5 million.

The second tranche of the ‘Better Off’ funding, $11.62 million, is scheduled to become available from July 1, 2024.

A survey on the funding priorities is on the council website. Hard copies of the survey are available at the Council’s office, and Masterton District Library. The survey closes on August 14.– NZLDR

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