Change of tack on war memorials

Staffing shortages, due to illness, have meant the Clutha District Council has funded its war memorial restoration programme from reserves rather than grants.

The council's manager of district assets, Jules Witt, said after planning for $40,000 of grant contributions for maintenance and upgrades to ensure the district's 30 war memorials were ''in good nick'' for Anzac Day next year, ''timing issues'' which prevented the lodging of grant applications required council to vote on December 18 on whether to use the district-wide cemeteries depreciation reserves to top up the funds.

''We did have some staffing issues in the interim when we were hoping to do the grant applications,'' he said.

''That's meant we haven't got on to those as quickly as we would have liked.

''We ... didn't think the timing would be quite [as it is] - nothing available until mid-2015.''

In the district's last annual plan, the council committed to the ''cleaning and maintenance'' of all Clutha war memorials to mark the World War 1 centenary. Ratepayers were to pay $10,000, with the remainder of an expected $50,000 to come from grants.

The council contacted six funding organisations but determined the money would not be available in time, Mr Witt said.

The council voted unanimously to fund the project from the cemeteries reserves.

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