How to bring your project to Council

Council welcomes the creative projects and ideas of its communities for the development of the South Waikato . The below details aim to make the process to bring projects forward to Council a little clearer.

(1) Small Projects

Council appreciates that those groups serving the community through different projects and initiatives make the South Waikato a better place to live. And for many of the community groups and organisations that enhance the District, finding funding is a struggle. Council's Community Development Grant was set up to support non-profit clubs and organisation to start events or programmes that would benefit the community. The grants are also used to help groups become self-sufficient. If Council supports the idea and is confident in the group and its planning, it may also be approached for a written endorsement from the Mayor. For other sources of grants, Council has produced a useful booklet of sources of grants, their criteria and how to get a hold of information on each. Council also offers a free advisory service through its Community Development Staff to assist your group to know how to plan a project and where to go for funding.

(2) Large Projects

Large, expensive projects requesting Council support and/or funding often come forward to Council during consultation on an Annual Plan or Council's strategic (10 year) plan. Council may be able to give support in principle immediately, but if your group wants significant funding then Council will likely request more information first to determine where it sits with other funding priorities.

A large project has three important phases:

  • Phase 1: Concept Phase is bringing up a concept plan and order of costs expected to Council, along with other basic project information like who is leading the project, what commitments they have from other groups, and what the need for their project is felt to be. At this stage Council may approve a project in principle. Committed support is likely to be subject to the results of more detailed costs and benefits being studied, and depending on community consultation results.
  • Phase 2: Detailed Design Phase is where the group decides to continue to explore the project and funds to have some expert work done, including a cost/benefit analysis and detailed designs that are costed. Depending on the level of its commitment at this stage, Council may fund some of this expert work. At this stage the detailed work can come back to Council for formal consideration. Council may decide to support the project at this stage subject to community consultation, and resolve to consult on the project. In this phase, the project support by Council staff will increase. The role of staff is to get the right information to Council for decisions, and to work with the group to align the project to best fit community outcomes and similar needs that Council may be aware of. The results of this consultation, facilitated by Council, will determine whether there is community endorsement to commit Council funding into the project. This consultation may be phased to coincide with an Annual Planning or Long Term Planning process of Council.
  • Phase 3: Tender Phase of a successful project proposal is where the adopted project is put out for tender and the tender prices are received back. Council will still need to take a resolution to approve the tender. In this stage, if the tender price was significantly over the amount it estimated during public consultation and budgeting, the project may not proceed. Getting accurate costings during phase 2 is really important.

(3) Consultation and Timing of Major Projects

Consultation within the District's communities is a key way in which Council receives feedback from interested or affected people about issues or proposals. South Waikato District Council aims to uphold legal requirements, and to hold efficient and focused consultation. Where practicable, Council aims to consult on significant issues on their own.

The major ten year planning document of Council is known as the Long Term Council Community Plan. It is done every 3 years. The Long Term Plan describes all activities Council undertakes, how Council contributes to South Waikato 's Community Outcomes and how it will all cost.

The Annual Plan is now a one-year snapshot dropping out of an adopted Long Term Plan. Opportunities are provided in approximately April to June each year for the public to give feedback on a draft Annual Plan.

For major community projects the ‘best' opportunity that matches Council's processes for consultation and funding, is to fit with the Long Term Plan's timetable. 

When you bring a significant project to Council, the Detailed Design Stage (Phase 2) needs to be completed by October in any given year. This allows the time for Council to consider the proposal and if it support the proposal, to build it into its budgeting for consultation in the next year. If your project is significant, it may have to wait for consultation on Council's next Long Term Plan (done 3 yearly). There are always exceptions so talk this over with Council's Community Development Staff.