Today is a good day.

Under the federal government’s important Stronger Communities Program, the Oaks Estate Progress Association (OEPA) applied for, and won, two separate federal grants of $20,000.

The OEPA used this $40,000 as catalyst funding to attract additional funding and support from the ACT Government, from the Inner South Canberra Community Council, from residents, and from industry – it’s a different take on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. Feedback from the ACT Government has been they think this pilot could be a new way of delivering the sorts of community level infrastructure projects that often don’t get done because of budget constraints. It’s been a really positive response from everyone involved.

With the help of these partners and also contributing thousands of dollars from our own resources, this innovative funding alliance achieved approximately $150,000 in construction and improvements to public infrastructure and residential amenity. We could not have done this without them, and we feed deeply grateful for their support. OEPA particularly thanks Gai Brodtmann, our MP, for helping us secure the federal funding, and Steve Doszpot, our MLA, for helping to smooth the way on a local level. And of course, the Minister for Regional Development who runs the grant program.

These projects come on the back of the recently-opened Oaks Estate Heritage River Walk, a $230,000 project which also improved access for emergency services vehicles to access the river corridor. That project came out of a December 2014 community workshop for disaster resilience with emergency services agencies and the OEPA.

This was not just grant money, it was seed funding. In a post GFC environment, all governments have to do more with less. This is not a new challenge for Oaks Estate. We have has always done more with less.

Resident groups and community organisations from across the ACT have been calling us to see how we did this. Feedback from these groups and from the ACT Government shows this is a new way for communities and government to work together to deliver not just community infrastructure,but public infrastructure as well.

The impending construction of 29 new townhouses here will see our local population increase by 35%, and we look forward to welcoming these families into this wonderful community.

List of improvements under this package

  • Construction of new public toilet, with baby change table
  • Community Orchard, including access paths and boules courts
  • Gateway signs and community notice blackboards
  • Public garden beds
  • Suburb-wide tree plantings
  • Suburb-wide bollards on vacant blocks
  • New pavements and extensions of existing pavements
  • Beautification and additional maintenance works

For additional media comment, Kate Gauthier, OEPA Secretary. 0414 876 139
A media event is being held at 11.30am today, Gillespie Park, Hazel and River Streets, Oaks Estate

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