A WIDE range of on-the-ground environmental projects have been granted funding by the Bega Valley Shire Council.
Through its annual Community Environment Grants program, the BVSC has allocated nine different community groups a share of $40,000.
Among the projects successful with grant applications are the Bega River and Wetlands Landcare group (BRAWL), Candelo Landcare, the On-Track Racecourse Committee, Bermagui Flora and Fauna Reserve Trust and the Women’s Resource Centre.
The most ingenious of the grant applications came from the Southern Women’s Group Women’s Resource Centre.
It has come up with a unique project that had several councillors applauding its worth.
Working in partnership with Bega Cheese, Spiral Gallery and the Bega Library, the Women’s Resource Centre will develop an art project utilising packaging waste from Bega Cheese.
The objective is to create engaging artistic displays and sculptures that will ultimately educate the public on the importance of reducing waste – or reimagining what can be done with it.
The BVSC agreed to put $2200 towards the project.
Meanwhile, BRAWL’s ongoing rehabilitation of the Bega River can continue with $3510 to put towards weed removal and revegetation at “The Junction” – where the Bega and Brogo Rivers join.
Candelo Landcare will receive its requested $5840 for work to rehabilitate the Candelo River through town, while On-Track will use its $3000 grant to fund revegetation of the riparian area adjacent to the old Bega racecourse pavilion.
It is the first year the Bermagui Reserve Trust applied for funding, and it will receive $4700 to put towards the first stage of a multi-stage project removing weeds around the Bermagui North lagoon.
Enviro levy a beneficial variation
MONEY granted to nine community groups for environmental projects is one of the good news stories of special rate variations says the Bega Valley Shire Council.
The BVSC allocated $40,000 for its 2014-15 Community Environment Grant program.
The money is sourced through an environment levy charged as part of shire residents’ general rates.
BVSC group manager for planning and environment Andrew Woodley explained the levy goes back about 10 years and raises $400,000 annually.
“It funds a lot of council’s own environmental initiatives and then $40,000 is set aside each year for this grants program,” Mr Woodley said.
Finance manager Lucas Scarpin said it was a good example of a special rate variation at work.
“Up until 10 years ago there was a mandatory levy council had to charge ratepayers, which was then withdrawn,” Mr Scarpin said.
“Council had the foresight to request a special variation equal to the value of the mandatory levy.
“It was approved in an ongoing capacity and is put back in to the community through environmental projects.”