Biodiversity funding to be maintained at same level

The Dunedin City Council's funding pool for Dunedin biodiversity projects will stay the same if the budget in the annual draft plan is approved.

A report heard yesterday considered options to increase a $5000, 50:50 grant limit for individual biodiversity projects, following a submission requesting that the current funding option be made more flexible.

The fund aimed to help groups and individuals maintain habitats and ecosystems in the city.

At present the council funds projects on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis from the $60,000 annual fund.

Council research and monitoring officer Garreth Kyle said at present there was an over-subscription by landowners and groups for funding to protect, maintain and enhance biodiversity in the city.

An alternative funding option to increase the funding limit for two ``flagship projects'' in each of two funding rounds per year to $10,000, and increase the amount allocated to the fund by $20,000 a year was discussed.

Such an option could mean major biodiversity projects would receive additional funding which they would have previously covered themselves, the report said.

A proposal to give more funding to flagship projects but keep the amount allocated to the biodiversity fund the same was also reported to councillors.

Cr Christine Geary said such an option could adversely impact on community boards because smaller projects might lose funding to larger projects, forcing them to approach community boards for funding.

The current funding model was a ``success story'', Cr Lee Vandervis said.

While the current model limited applicants to $5000 funding, it was easily understood and easy to apply, he said.

Mayor Dave Cull said a lack of detailed information on the level of subscription to the fund made it difficult to support either of the two alternative options.

Public consultation was expected to happen in May.

What form the consultation would take was yet to be decided.


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