Biodiversity grants in demand

The chairman of the Dunedin City Council's biodiversity fund subcommittee says he is encouraged by the growing number of applicants seeking "dollar for dollar" help from the council for new projects.

Cr Colin Weatherall made the comment after the subcommittee this week confirmed 14 grants, together worth $33,031.24, in its latest funding round.

The fund was established in 2007 to support landowners and help maintain a network of habitats and eco- systems in Dunedin, and was distributed in grants of up to $5000 each twice a year.

The latest round had again been oversubscribed, as $33,560.37 was available but 14 applicants together sought $44,667.24, a staff report showed.

Subcommittee members on Monday instead approved grants of between $180 and $4000, and totalling $33,031.24, meaning "everyone got something", Cr Weatherall said.

That included a $4000 grant for the trust running the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, for new plants and pest-monitoring materials, but also money for individual landowners who were clearing non-native plants, including gorse, controlling pests and fencing to protect new native plantings, among other projects.

"We're getting some repeat applications, which is great, but we're also getting some new ones. It's starting to spread wider across the city," Cr Weatherall said.

"The good thing is it's starting to be picked up as being a very positive way that the city and the people together can contribute. It's a partnership."



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