Applications are now open for the 2020/2021 Environmental Levy (EL) Grants Program from community-based groups interested in helping to improve or sustain our local environment.
Under the Program, grants worth between $2,000 and $25,000 are available per project.
Council introduced the Environmental Levy as a means of undertaking environmental management works and encouraging all of us to consider ways that we can help improve our local environment. It also supports the achievement of one of the goals of the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan – ‘A natural environment sustained for the future’.
The levy currently raises around $1.3 million every year for local environmental works at an average cost of $44 per rate payer.
The Environmental Levy is allocated in two streams – 75 per cent of the fund is allocated to Major Strategic Projects and 25 per cent to the Environmental Levy Grants Program.
Projects supported by EL funding are always hugely diverse. Under the last round of the Environmental Levy Grants Program, Council was able to help finance community initiatives that ranged from revegetating a drain line on the Sandy Beach Reserve to the installation of a stand-alone, off-grid solar PV system with batteries at South Coffs Community Garden.
The Major Strategic Projects side of the program is intended to support projects that help achieve aspects of our four-year Delivery Program. It was recently expanded to include a new theme focusing on Environmental Health and Water Quality Research. Among the first schemes to benefit was an independent study by Southern Cross University (SCU) into the potential impacts of Intensive Plant Agriculture on the environment by investigating potential contamination of pesticides and heavy metals in soil, air, water, plants and animals near farming operations.
Funds were also allocated for a series of local estuary management studies in the same round.
Anyone interested in applying for grants worth between $2,000 and $25,000 through the latest Environmental Levy (EL) Grants Program round can find guidelines and an application form on Council’s website at www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/ELGrants
Applications close at 5pm on Thursday, April 9 2020.