Raetihi residents have a month to submit their personal ideas on how the Horizons’ $100,000 Ruapehu Alpine Lifts mitigation money should be spent.
Earlier this year, councilors voted unanimously to create a project fund for the community and as part of this, they put together a working group involving representatives from Horizons Regional Council, Uenuku, Ngāti Rangi, Raetihi Promotions, Raetihi Community Trust, the Department of Conservation and Ruapehu District Council (RDC).
On Wednesday, members from a large cross-section of the community were pleased to hear Regional Council Group manager of Environmental Management, Craig Mitchell, confirm the original amount had been ring-fenced for the town to spend and remained untouched.
“That $100,000 is sitting in an account and not one cent of it’s been spent.
“Everything we have done…has been done as part of our collective business as usual.”
Horizons councilor for the Ruapehu region Bruce Rollinson said originally it had been thought projects undertaken would involve improvements to the Mākōtuku Steam catchment area.
At the meeting held in The Centre he said the working group had decided to open this up to any projects which met the broad criteria.
“At the time the Council decided to make sure this [money] goes back to the Raetihi community there was a desire amongst councillors, at that point back in April/May, that it should go to the river enhancement project.
“When the project group came together they said why restrict it to that and we as staff and Councillors put it back in the community’s court and said, ‘you decide’.”
“Just to prove don’t believe everything you read, I see in today’s Wanganui Chronicle I’ve been quoted as saying the money is to go towards this [the Mākōtuku].”
Submitted ideas must meet at least one of the criteria created by the working group which include having wide community benefit, being a lasting project, collaborative, are physical and tangible, are projects of significance, can be completed in a timely manner and are not normally considered core business of either RDC or HRC.
Mr Mitchell went on to acknowledge that not all criteria had to be met for an idea to be considered.
Simple two-page application forms, which need to be returned to HRC by 20 November, are being delivered to houses around Raetihi and are also available from the Raetihi RDC Service Centre.
Requests for additional forms and queries around the process can be directed to Maria Burgess at HRC via email: email@example.com or by phoning: 0508 800 800.
On 5 December, submitter’s and the wider community are encouraged to then attend a facilitated workshop with David Engwicht from Creative Communities International ahead of projects being submitted to the community for a deciding vote. The voting process is yet to be confirmed.