Ceduna council selects drought funding projects

PROJECTS: Ceduna District Council chief executive officer Geoff Moffatt and mayor Perry Will at the site of the Ceduna foreshore playground. A new playground has been selected as one of the projects to be pursued as part of the Drought Communities Program. Picture: Luca Cetta
PROJECTS: Ceduna District Council chief executive officer Geoff Moffatt and mayor Perry Will at the site of the Ceduna foreshore playground. A new playground has been selected as one of the projects to be pursued as part of the Drought Communities Program. Picture: Luca Cetta

The Ceduna District Council has selected the five projects it will submit for approval under the federal government's Drought Communities Program.

Ceduna was included on the list of councils to receive $1 million in federal funding for projects to boost the local economy through stimulating short-term employment in the district and providing a long-term community benefit.

Councillors finalised the projects for submission at Wednesday's February council meeting, after collating information received from community consultation.

Projects to be submitted from an initial list of 14 are, the installation of a major playground on the Ceduna foreshore; upgrading the Ceduna Airport terminal, baggage area and toilets; the installation of a fixed platform to replace the floating platform at Ceduna's swimming enclosure; the construction of a footpath along the Ceduna foreshore from the jetty to the Ceduna Sailing Club; and the installation of picnic setting along the Ceduna foreshore.

The total cost of the projects, including $20,000 for an adverse event plan, is $998,000.

Airport upgrades are estimated to cost $303,000, while the council will put in $300,000 for the playground - in addition to the Ceduna Foreshore Hotel Motel providing an extra $200,000 - with $190,000 estimated for the swimming enclosure, $120,000 for the footpath and $65,000 for the picnic settings.

The council also decided if any projects came in cheaper than expected and enough money was available, it would submit to purchase and install a generator for $62,000 to allow the Ceduna Memorial Hall to be used as a refuge in the event of instances such as a prolonged power outage or bushfire.

Households throughout the district received a form they could return ranking the 14 projects in order of preference and the playground was the clear winner with 2549 points - with the highest ranked project earning 14 points.

The council's chief executive officer Geoff Moffatt said they were pleased to have received 282 responses, which he said formed the basis of the projects selected.

"We wanted to go out to the community and get their opinion on projects identified, and over a period of time they were things people have talked to elected members about, or written about," he said.

"The total number of responses is pretty good in the scheme of things."

Mr Moffatt said the projects would have benefits for locals and visitors to the district, and would especially help to boost tourism.

"This will help to diversify the economy, particularly in relation to tourism," he said.

"The airport, playground, footpath and picnic setting are good for locals and help to attract tourists to stay longer.

"We hope that local contractors can play a big part in the construction of the projects."

While the last round of drought funding saw projects spread across the district, this round has seen all projects focused on Ceduna.

Mr Moffatt said that was a reflection of the community responses.

"It's what the community has said they wanted, and the entire community was given an opportunity to have input," he said.

"We had a lot of other suggestions, but by and large they were one person's view or were not going to meet the requirements of the program - but we are grateful for the suggestions and will hang on to them.

"The reality is, everybody in terms of local people come to Ceduna and it is a focal point for lots of tourists coming to the region."

Mr Moffatt said the next step was to finalise project details for approval, before going out to tender for construction.

He estimated projects such as the footpath and picnic setting could see construction within the next few months, with some of the larger projects to start later in the year.

All projects must be completed by December 31, 2020.