THE STATE Government has finally “come to the party” with $4.3 million funding for the improvement of the Gunning water supply.
This is less than the $6 million sought by Upper Lachlan Council to match the $7 million already coming from the Federal Government and the $1.1 million from Upper Lachlan.
The Federal Government original grant of $7 million represented half of the $14 million original plan put forward by Upper Lachlan which included a pipeline from the Gunning plant to Dalton, connection to the proposed gas-fired power station there, and an upgrade of the ageing Crookwell water treatment plant.
With the lower contribution from the State, the matching grant from Federal comes back to $5.4 million, making the total available $10.8 million.
This will enable the Gunning water supply to come from an “off-stream” dam rather than the water hole in the Lachlan River now used.
It will also give the village a filtered supply which will overcome its frequent problem of discoloured water through the taps.
The pipe line to Dalton will not be included, and AGL has decided to use bores for its supply.
However, Dalton’s supply (which comes from bores) will still receive some attention.
Nevertheless, Upper Lachlan Mayor Cr. John Shaw was elated with the news of the State grant, which follows many months of lobbying by Cr. Shaw and Council officers, plus much agitation from Gunning residents.
Cr. Shaw yesterday praised the efforts of local Member and Minister for Primary Industry Katrina Hodgkinson for her efforts.
Cr. Shaw said that because of the need to reduce the overall cost of the scheme the plans for Crookwell’s supply would go “on hold” at this stage, but that Council would continue to seek funding for this.
The State money will come from the 2012/13 budget, but it was hoped that a quick start could be made on the Gunning supply.
“We aim to have the filtration plant in operation within twelve months,” Cr. Shaw said.
Ms Hodkinson also expressed her delight at the State’s decision.
“This is wonderful news for Gunning and Dalton,” she said.
“I would like to thank Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner for his support of my continuous representations over a long period of time.
Ms Hodgkinson added that the Gunning problems were worsened by heavy rains early this year that scoured a filtering layer of sand off the bed of the river.
“I have put in an immense amount of effort on behalf of the Gunning community, pushing this project through Government processes.”
She thanked Mayor John Shaw and the communities of Gunning and Dalton for their patience and support during “what must have seemed a long time when little could be announced, but during which a lot of work was taking place in the background.
“The additional funding just had to be found despite the very poor budgetary position in which the previous State Government left NSW’s finances.
“I would also like to thank Federal Water Minister Tony Burke for agreeing to my requests to extend the deadline for acceptance of Federal funding.”
Upper Lachlan General Manager John Bell echoed Cr. Shaw’s satisfaction at the successful conclusion of Council’s long battle for funding, and added that now Council would be following up in its efforts to obtain the necessary financial help for update the Crookwell plant.
While there was no immediate problem with the Crookwell supply the age of the plant required Council to look to the future.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.