COUNCILLORS were not ready to make an annual commitment of $50,000 or more to local environmental groups last week.
Councillor John Fry had lodged a notice of motion seeking support for council to provide annual financial support equivalent to the existing groups for The Australian Landscape Science Institute (TALS) to expand the restoration work of the Ben Chifley Catchment Steering Committee, Vale Creek Landcare and the Winburndale users groups.
The annual funding requested is between $50,000 and $100,000, to be used for administration and coordination costs for grant applications, compliance, media, on ground earth works pilot demonstration projects, project management research and training.
Cr Fry had to step out of the room while the item was dealt with due to a conflict of interest, as he is a director of TALS.
In his absence, councillors resolved to defer the item to a working party for determination by a new council.
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It is understood Cr Fry wanted the matter to be deferred.
Cr Alex Christian, who put forward the motion to defer the item, said the proposal had "a lot of merit".
"It's been thought out and I think everyone in the community would understand that we have to do everything we can to secure our storage for water and water security, so it's certainly something we have to discuss moving forward," he said.
In the documentation for the notice of motion, Cr Fry explained that TALS' work would build on the successes of existing groups to provide increased economic and water security for the residents, farmers, graziers and businesses of the Bathurst region.
"Regional growth is increasing at unprecedented rates and this work is essential to service our growing population which will benefit from improved physical and mental health," he said.
"The TALS network and associates will coordinate the work in partnerships with the Bathurst and Oberon councils, government and non-government groups, Landcare groups, universities and the member land managers of the Ben Chifley Catchment Steering Committee that manages their 1000 kilometre square catchment.
"We will also work with the Vale Creek Landcare and the Winburndale users groups to improve water flows during droughts."
TALS plans to build financial, technical, planning, scientific and construction partnerships this year and in 2022 will begin a series of pilot demonstration projects subject to available resources.
Cr Fry said an increasing numbers of property owners have approached TALS with requests for assistance.
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