Source: Whangarei District Council
Updated: 29/09/2020 10:49 a.m.
Whangārei ratepayers show enormous support to people and groups contributing to the community every year.
Support has included more than $6.5 million in grants and concessions to 182 organisations in the year to 30 June 2020. The funds have ranged in size from $500 to help cover the cost of mowing the grounds of a community hall to the $435,000 annual grant to Whangarei Museum and Heritage Park (Kiwi North).
“It is hard to picture the myriad of activities, groups, events, facilities, programmes and causes ratepayers support every year,” said Council’s General Manager Community, Sandra Boardman.
“Some of the activities and groups are tiny, and some are enormous, but they all add up to improved quality of life for people in our community.
“For the past few years we have been producing an annual report that outlines the grants (money that is given), concessions (fees that are not charged) and loans ratepayers provide to the community.
“We have four priorities for funding that help us to allocate support to the sectors that matter most to our District: Arts, Culture and Heritage, Recreation and Sport, Environment, and Community Wellbeing. Many people in our community are keen on sports, so we want to ensure that groups providing facilities like gymnasiums, turf, sports complexes and sporting events and clubs are supported.
“For others the arts, culture and heritage are a priority, so we ensure that a fair share of ratepayer funding goes into supporting art centres and facilities, craft cooperatives and the many museums we have across our District.
“Our community also has a keen interest in the environment with community planting days, events, activities, recycling, stream health projects all receiving ratepayer funding,” Mrs Boardman said.
The scope for funding is very wide, from very large and well-known outfits like Whangarei Art Museum and Whangarei Quarry Gardens, to marae and community halls, to bowling clubs, community libraries, craft groups, and community events.
“Some of the rates the community pays each year through grants goes back into the community. The role Council plays is to provide a fair, transparent and equitable system for distributing the funding back into the things the community has told us it wants.
“We base those decisions on the information that comes in to us from the community through consultations on projects, the Long Term Plan, Annual Plan, and through grant applications.
“If you have visited the Whangārei Art Museum, Kiwi North, Kensington Stadium, attended a community event or performance, have attended a fitness class at your local hall, or have been involved in Onerahi Football or any other sports club, you will have benefited from ratepayer’s contributions. Conversely, if you have paid rates, you have helped to provide these experiences.”