March 11, 2018

An extra $1.5 million has been allocated to fund district community projects.

It increases the likelihood of money being available for upgrades at Memorial Park, as well as the town hall redevelopment.

Total funding for Edward River Council under the NSW Government Stronger Country Communities program is now $4.5 million in 2018, an increase of $1.5 million on what council expected to receive.

Funding from round one of the program was announced last week and will be used for an upgrade to the Deniliquin Swim Centre, installation of a destination playground at Scott’s Park, and for walkways connecting the Deniliquin lagoons. These will cost a total of $1.3 million.

Mayor Norm Brennan said more than $3 million is available to the council for round two. Half of this must be spent on sporting infrastructure.

He said paired with other significant funding allocated to development projects in the council area, the district’s ‘‘dynamic’’ would be significantly changed over coming months.

‘‘We already had $1.5 million available in round two, as well as $300,000 in carryover (not spent from the round one allocation), so this increase gives us access to $3.3 million,’’ Cr Brennan said.

‘‘With $1.5 million allocated to sporting projects, it gives us a bit of direction.

‘‘I’m not going to pre-empt anything, but there are some things we’re trying to do at Memorial Park. But nothing is off the table.

‘‘What we have to do is make sure all this money is spent in the right way; we can’t be looking at anything that is short-lived.’’

The boost in Stronger Country Communities funding is in addition to $8.6 million in Stronger Communities major projects program funding currently being spent, which was allocated through the Fit for the Future local government reform and merger process.

Another $3 million is also to be spent on infrastructure projects with a specific aim of boosting economic and social outcomes through the Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Programme and Regional Growth Fund.

And Cr Brennan said that does not include smaller scale projects funded under Stronger Communities, council spending or private enterprise.

He said all projects suggested to council when spending its merger money would be reviewed when determining priority projects for round two of Stronger Country Communities, as well as council’s wish list and database of potentially ‘shovel ready’ projects.

Cr Brennan said it is likely that Deniliquin Town Hall upgrades — which have been unsuccessful in previous funding rounds — would be resubmitted.

NSW Member for Murray Austin Evans said the round two allocation boost was due to the ‘‘overwhelming response’’ to round one, with the sport focus because of its importance in communities.

‘‘Sport has a major role in making towns and cities exciting and vibrant places to live,’’ Mr Evans said.

Stronger Country Communities applications for round two open on March 12, and will close May 4, 2018.

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