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Full approval for Council in first round of Better Off funding

Restoration work to a Huntly rugby league ground, creation of a Naike Wellness Hub and Te Paina restoration work are among Council and community projects set to benefit from $7 million of Better Off Funding money.

Waikato District Council has received word from the Department of Internal Affairs that all 20 of its shortlisted applications have been accepted to receive full funding in tranche 1 of the Better Off Funding programme.

Under the Three Waters Reform programme, the Government developed the Better Off funding programme as an investment by the Crown into the future of local government, with a particular focus on community wellbeing.

Waikato District Council were one of a few councils who took the opportunity to engage fully with their communities on Better Off Funding.

It received 115 applications worth $50 million from throughout the district and it was a tough task to narrow them down to fit the funding package size allocated by the government.

“Waikato District Council saw this opportunity to take the conversation into the heart of our communities and let our people show us what our vision of ‘liveable, thriving, connected communities’ means to them,” says Waikato District Mayor Jacqui Church.

“While this is a huge success for our people and our communities, the outcome comes as no surprise. This outcome reflects the aroha that our people put into their application and the rigorous assessment process followed by Council to ensure that each project going to the DIA was set up for success.”

Council partnered with local iwi to develop a novel process for assessing the applications based on the DIA criteria, and added Council’s vision, values, and Mātauranga Māori into the assessment process.

In the new year, the Waikato District Council will distribute funding to the projects so that works may begin in the community in 2023.

Council has been allocated a further $23 million in the second tranche of funding, which the DIA will open for applications in the future, should the Three Waters reform programme progress.

The 20 projects that received Tranche 1 funding are:

Whaingaroa Wharf Western Walkway - $3,200,000

Taupiri Community Shared Pathway (Stages 1 and 2) - $688,675

Te Paina Restoration - $630,500

Restoring Mauri to Davies Park - $547,950

District-wide CCTV safer communities project - $539,630

Whatawhata Playground - $325,000

Te Kowhai Structure Plan - $325,000

Waerenga Community Hub Feasibility - $307,164

Naike Wellness Hub/Community Gym - $184,631

Te Paina Pest Eradication - $169,000

Kimihia Lakes Irrigation and Picnic Site - $124,852

Whatawhata Country Tennis Club Upgrades - $117,000

Te Paina Waters Programme - $97,500

Waka Energy Resources & Papakainga Project - $78,000

Te Kauwhata Community Transport Service Electric Car Project - $58,500

Te Akau South Kaitiaki - $57,229

Accessibility Lift at Raglan Old School Arts Centre - $38,397

Community Heartsaver Defibrillators - $38,337

Te Ao Moana Whaingaroa - $23,344

Raglan Bowling Club Irrigation Upgrade - $9,123