Media release

Wānaka community group the first to access new ORC environmental fund

Thursday 28 October 2021

Grow Wānaka received funding from the Otago Regional Council’s environmental enhancement consent fund as part of a community garden initiative.

Grow Wānaka is the first group to receive money from a new $50,000 fund introduced through this year’s Long-term Plan to support Otago groups to advance projects that enhance our environment.

Through the new fund, a maximum of $10,000 per project is available to cover regional council consent processing fees for environmental enhancement projects, such as wetland restorations, fencing of water ways, riparian planting or creating walkways for their communities.

Grow Wānaka club secretary Julia Greeks said, “Funding of the consent application and support from the Otago Regional Council has made it possible for Grow Wānaka to collect waste from outside the garden for vermicomposting (worm farms), and composting this will help to reduce the amount of organic waste that currently goes into landfills – this is a key part of our vision for the community garden.”

The compost is then used to grow holistic produce, herbs and flowers, which is gifted to volunteers and community charities to provide for those in need, Ms Greeks said.

“We are a charitable trust community garden project, working towards a circular economy through the collection and composting of organic matter and materials from our urban centre. Grow Wānaka’s vision is to create a vibrant educational hub where community members can come to learn, connect and grow.”

Grow Wānaka has been granted consent to discharge compost and leachate to land for the purpose of operating a green waste composting and worm farm, and the fund will fully cover this consent cost. Consent costs for the project are still being finalised but expected to be between $1,500 and $2,000.

ORC Councillor Bryan Scott said it was pleasing to see the new fund already being used.

“This new fund is something Councillors introduced through the Long-term Plan, based on feedback from the community. It will support community and catchment groups that are doing great work for our environment, by contributing to resource consent fees their projects might incur.

“This project, by diverting waste from landfills, is an example of the kinds of projects we’re looking to support. Additionally, its focus on educating the community on ways to protect and enhance Otago’s environment fulfils the objectives of this fund. We’re excited to see their project grow, and pleased to have been able to support it,” Cr Scott said.

“We would really like to encourage other groups within the Otago community to make use of this fund if they have a project that requires resource consent.”

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be able to demonstrate that their project will provide an environmental benefit or service and is not intended for private commercial gain, among other criteria.

To learn more about the consent processing support, click here.