Council innovation creating opportunity

Kimba District Council mayor Dean Johnson.
Kimba District Council mayor Dean Johnson.

The majority of media attention on South Australian councils recently has focused on the contentious issue of rate capping and what it will mean in terms of inhibiting funding opportunities for community projects.

This singular focus is disappointing because it has diverted attention away from the innovative ways many councils, especially those in regional areas, are partnering with community groups, the private sector and other tiers of government to identify non-traditional ways in which services and infrastructure can be made financially sustainable propositions.

The Kimba District Council is leading the way in this respect, as evidenced by the more than $825,000 of projects we are funding over the next 12 months with revenue sourced through the federal and state governments.

The council has secured $220,000 through the SA government’s Fund My Neighbourhood program, which will deliver upgrades to Lions Apex Central Park, including an all-abilities playground.

Additionally, the federal government’s $2-million Community Benefit Program, being rolled out as part of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility site selection process, will fund 33 projects of all shapes and sizes.

The council is project managing six of the 33 - valued at almost $620,000 - all of which I am proud to say will help make our town more liveable and contribute to its social and economic sustainability.

One of the projects is an extension of the free camping area at the Kimba Recreation Reserve to provide additional facilities for visitors – given there are 15 or more campervans and motorhomes presently utilising what is little more than a levelled site each night, it’s fair to say this huge opportunity can help make our town the most attractive prospect as a base camp for tourists when they explore the Eyre Peninsula.

As you can see, there are ways for councils to drive development in a manner that does not equate to a burden on ratepayers

The introduction of rate capping, while opposed by the council, is not going to make a difference to how we go about the business of serving our community – it’s about exploiting every opportunity for success, and with the continuation of our partnerships with government and the people of Kimba, these opportunities will continue to flourish.

Dean Johnson

Kimba District Council mayor