Councillors will consider further funding to Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare from its environmental fund, to provide an extension service for the blueberry and hot house industry.
Councillors will consider further funding to Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare from its environmental fund, to provide an extension service for the blueberry and hot house industry. Trevor Veale

Funds for blueberry farmers on council agenda

BLUEBERRY growers and the local hot house growing industry should gain funding for extension services from Coffs Harbour's Environmental Levy fund, Cr John Arkan says.

Cr Arkan has submitted a notice of motion to tomorrow's Coffs Harbour City Council meeting asking council to consider further funding to Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare from its environmental fund, to provide an extension service for the emerging blueberry and hot house industry.

He is also asking councillors to support any applications for federal funding for soil health grants.

Another item on tomorrow's agenda is the quarterly report on 2015-2016 environmental levy projects, which shows progress on 18 different environmental programs throughout the Coffs Harbour area.

Cr Arkan's notice of motion returns to a long running debate within the council, about the direction of environmental levy funding but another worry has now surfaced.

The Chairman of the environmental levy committee Garry Dew said yesterday he was anxious about the timing of next year's applications and concerned that the council might be altering the way levy funds were awarded.

Garry said normally applications would be called this month for the next round of projects, but he had been told by council staff members this week that applications would not be called until next year.

He said he had been assured this would leave "plenty of time' for the funds to be included in the next budget, but he was not yet convinced.

The committee generally considers applications during the Christmas holiday period, with recommendations sent to the city councillors for their assessment in February, in time for the final recommendations to be approved in March.



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