14 April 2021

There are just three months left for community groups to apply for a portion of this year’s Bay of Plenty Regional Council Environmental Enhancement funding, with grants of up to $25,000 per project available.

Overall the Regional Council has $300,000 available to environmental community groups in the Bay of Plenty through the fund, which supports local projects that aim to enhance, preserve or protect the region's natural or historic character.

He Matapuna Akoranga a Hawea Vercoe (Hawea Vercoe Memorial Fund) grants are also funded through the EEF to help Kura Kaupapa Māori, Kohanga Reo and bi-lingual schools in the region with environmental projects.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman Doug Leeder said the fund had helped many different groups across the Bay of Plenty over the last 20 years.

“Our Bay of Plenty community is made up of so many knowledgeable environmentalists filled with innovative ideas.” he said.

“These volunteers are the backbone of what makes our region thrive so this fund is one way we can support them in doing their crucial work.”

This fund was open to those who want to improve the environment, raise environmental awareness and use enthusiasm and skills of the community, he said.

In the last year, the Environmental Enhancement Fund had been able to support a diverse range of projects across the Bay of Plenty including a giant sea bin for the Tauranga Bridge Marina, solar panels for Te Puke High School and wetland planting at the Awatapu Lagoon in Whakatāne.

Mr Leeder said the Regional Council was also constantly looking at ways to adapt and mitigate the changing climate the Bay was seeing on a daily basis and was keen to hear from the local community on projects that could mitigate those changes.

The Tauranga Bridge Marina was able to secure an ocean sea bin for the marina in 2020 through the fund in 2019.

Anna Barnes, from Tauranga Bridge Marina, said they were always keen to look into different environmental initiatives and bring awareness to the micro plastics that float within Tauranga Harbour to boaties, marina users and the wider community.

On any given day, the sea bin could collect everything from general rubbish, micro plastics and even things like jandals, she said.

The Mount Manganui College Environmental Group then collected the “rubbish” and lodged its data with the World Data Index. Bay of Plenty Regional Council set up the Environmental Enhancement Fund to provide seed funding for community-based projects.

To qualify for the grant the project must be on public land, or land with public access, needs to contribute towards environmental enhancement, help develop community awareness and encourage community participation.

More information on the fund can be found on the Regional Council’s website at http://www.boprc.govt.nz/eef