A timber bridges renewal project across a trio of councils, if successful, would result in a $20 million investment over three years.
The bridges project is on the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation’s radar.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Kempsey Shire Council and Bellingen Shire Council are members of the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation.
The timber bridges renewal project aims to attract government funding to address the backlog of works across the member councils’ timber bridges.
The Mid-North Coast Joint Organisation board has delegated to the general managers any actions required to pursue funding opportunities for the bridges project.
A prospectus/briefing document has been developed with the aim to attract project-specific funding to the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation.
The project, which seeks a partnership arrangement, is requesting a $10 million funding contribution from the state government over a three-year period.
The member councils would contribute a combined $10 million.
Just over 90 timber bridges across the three council areas would benefit under the project proposal.
An update report about the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation went before Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s September meeting.
“The funds required by member councils as the 50 per cent contribution to this project are not necessarily new funds, they are more likely to be funds already allocated or likely to be allocated for essential asset maintenance works into the future,” the council report said.
The project identified 15 bridges for renewal in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area at a total cost of about $4.8 million, with the 50 per cent council contribution over three years at about $2.4 million.
The council’s annual bridge maintenance budget is about $1.2 million.
“If this funding proposal is successful, this will address 24 per cent of PMHC’s total timber bridges, plus this funding will likely allow us to increase weight limits, improve agricultural productivity, improve access to residents and improve road safety and general liveability for those residents impacted,” the council report said.
“If this project looks like gaining traction within the government, further discussions will be had with each member council about matching funds for the coming three years.”
The project started with the Mid North Coast Regional Organisation of Councils.
Meanwhile, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has given the green light for its general manager Craig Swift-McNair to become interim executive officer of the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation.
The interim arrangement will continue until a permanent executive officer is recruited by no later than June 14, 2019.
The executive officer performs the same role in a joint organisation which a general manager performs in a council.
The council has also approved reimbursement of expenses for councillors attending Mid North Coast Joint Organisation meetings.
Cr Rob Turner said he would certainly like to go to a couple of meetings to get a better understanding.
Cr Geoff Hawkins said he found it a very valuable and interesting experience to attend a joint organisation meeting.
The joint organisation has received the $300,000 state government funding allocation for the set-up and administration of the organisation for the first two years.
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