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HBRC focuses on improving freshwater

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has made four applications to the Ministry for the Environment’s Freshwater Improvement Fund, in the hope of fast-tracking improvements to some of the region’s degraded waterways.

The applications were prepared in sight of the Council’s proposed kick-start fund to clean up six of the region’s environmental hot-spot areas.

“First off, the community of Hawke’s Bay is putting up $1.2 million for these hot-spot projects. Now it’s time to move to the second stage of this process, to link with our partners, join with Tāngata Whenua and other councils to make the most of this opportunity,” says HBRC Chair Rex Graham.

Iain Maxwell, HBRC’s Group Manager of Resource Management, is championing the second stage with the Council applying for ‘match funding’ totalling $6.5 million over five years from the Government’s environmental fund. The projects concern Lake Tūtira, Ahuriri Estuary, Whakakī Lake and the Tukituki catchment.

“We’ve needed to act quickly to take advantage of this potential funding source, particularly with the community already signalling their own $1.2 million commitment,” says Mr Maxwell.

“Regional Council staff have put a lot of time into these applications to maximise our efforts in four key areas,” says Mr Maxwell.

The funding applications align with the Annual Plan focus recently announced by the Council, and currently up for consultation.

“These projects have the potential to help lift our region and realise our aspirations to improve the health and swimmability of our freshwater taonga,” concludes Mr Graham.

The Freshwater Improvement Fund will commit $24.5 million to vulnerable catchments in the first funding round. The deadline for applications has now closed. The Minister for the Environment will make final funding decisions and notify applicants around July this year.

13 April 2017

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