Media release

ORC re-vamps community grants program – ECO Fund.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Today Otago Regional Councillors adopted a re-vamped community grants program. The fund, which will hold up to $250,000 per annum, aims to support work that protects and enhances Otago’s environment and enable community-driven environmental activities.

“All across the region, we are seeing considerable effort at the community level to tackle environmental issues in Otago from predator management through to work being done by catchment groups to improve water quality.”

“This fund aims to support this good work and empower communities and individuals to take action on the issues in their communities,” said Sian Sutton Director Stakeholder Engagement.

The new fund will be known as ECO Fund (Environment.Community.Otago) and will have three clear funding rounds, with the first funding round later this year. The ECO Fund also aims to support collaboration and partnerships across the region.

“After council deliberations, we decided that a key point of difference we would like to include in this fund is the ability to finance administrative support for projects,” said Cr Deaker, Chair of the Communication Committee.

“In talking to community groups, the feedback we got consistently was that several funds were available to fund capital expenditure but very few were in existence to fund positions or pieces of work such as strategies or catchment plans. We are certainly very excited to offer this point of difference,” he said.

Cr Scott said, “This fund has really evolved and with Councillors rotating on the selection panel, it will give us all an opportunity to be a part of the decision-making process, which is key”.

Cr Ella Lawton said, “This is an exciting way in which we can directly help our communities. So, thank you for the work gone into the evolution of this fund. I look forward to ORC’s “best kept secret” no longer being a secret and to reviewing the applications”.

The fund will officially launch on July 31st, 2018.

Some of the previous projects funded by the ORC include the following:

Successful applicant Total amount funded ($) Project description
Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group 27,000 Pest research
Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust 35,000 Purchase and placement of pest traps
National Cat Management Strategy 400  
HALO Project 132,030 Pest control in Orokonui
Wakatipu Island reforestation trust 3,817 Funding to buy equipment for planting native plants
Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group 3,151 Funding for planting gear for Adopt a Plot volunteers
Kakaho Creek Wetland 4,348 Funding for fencing of wetland
Lindis Pass Conservation Group 4,713 Removal of pest plants
Rotary Club of Dunedin trust 10,435 Plants for beautification of West Harbour Recreation Trail
NZ Falcon Research Project 10,000 Funding towards a falcon expert to assist with research
Aspiring Biodiversity Trust 22,000 Surveying endangered birds

For further information please contact:
Sian Sutton – Director of Stakeholder Engagement – 027 575 1799

Communications contact:
Emma Schranz - Senior Media Advisor - 0276275894