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SANSON, Rongotea and the northern villages will be the first to benefit from the Manawatu District Council’s community planning programme.
Strong support from submitters means the programme has been confirmed in council’s Long Term Plan, with the planned funding of $95,000 supplemented by a further $27,000 saved this year.
Community Services Group Manager Brent Limmer said a partnership approach would see council work closely with communities.
"Council will be working with each community to establish its specific priorities for its future. With support from council officers and other agencies, we will create a unique vision for Sanson, Kimbolton, Apiti, Rangiwahia, Rongotea and Pohangina over the next three years.
“The funding we have allocated may be used to support new works – such as upgrades to facilities from parks to signage – or to create events or programmes that are important to that community.”
Mr Limmer said that through close collaboration with other parts of council, more gains could be made.
“This might mean, for example, that we are able to work with roading to ensure that when we reseal a road we are providing at the same time a footpath. We will also be supporting communities to access third-party funding, from trusts and grants to corporate sponsorships.”
The community planning programme was well received throughout the consultation phase of the Long Term Plan, with many communities using their submissions to feed in projects for consideration. These included an arboretum plan and walkway proposal for Pohangina.
“While these projects have great meaning for their communities, they also benefit the wider district by providing recreational facilities for all our residents and in attracting visitors,” said Mr Limmer.
The community planning programme complements the existing community committee structure, where $2700 of discretionary funding and administrative assistance will be provided for committees, with support from Community Development Adviser Vicki Wills.
This funding had previously been used for projects ranging from improved signage to enhanced recycling facilities, playground enhancements and BMX tracks.
Mrs Wills said the response to council’s public meetings held during the Long Term Plan consultation had been so positive that two community committees, Waituna West and Cheltenham, were in the process of reforming and becoming part of the programme.