• Loddon Herald

Water, sewerage: funds key

COLIBAN Water has committed to work with Loddon Shire and the Newbridge community on best options for connection to water and sewerage services.

But the commitment will hinge on securing State Government funding for the projects.

Coliban Water, in a statement to the Loddon Herald, said: “There is no Government funding currently available for this infrastructure. If funding is secured, we will work with the Loddon Shire Council and community to explore the best option to connect to the Coliban Water network.”

The Newbridge community is pushing for connection to services in a bid to grow the district’s population and boost nearby school enrolments at Tarnagulla and involvement in local sporting groups.

Local resident Ken O’Shea said more than 130 surveyed and titled land blocks were available for residential growth in the town.

Coliban said: “Newbridge is within Coliban Water’s region, however is not connected to its water or sewerage networks. The town relies on rainwater tanks for drinking water supply and septic tanks for wastewater management.

“The interest in being connected to the Coliban Water network has been driven by the community.

“In consultation with the Loddon Shire and the Newbridge community, Coliban Water has completed an options analysis for the services and recommended outcomes for the provision of a sewerage and water supply system.

“Following this, the Loddon Shire Council has led a process to develop a business case, with the proposed solution an independent sewerage system and water supply system connected to the Coliban Water network.

“Funding required for the proposed water and sewerage services would need to be secured from the community, Loddon Shire Council or the government. Once this infrastructure is complete, residents would then become customers of Coliban Water and therefore ongoing operating costs would be shared by all customers in our region – as per our current customer funded model.”

Member for Ripon Louise Staley said she would continue advocacy for State Government funding to meet the shortfall between customer contributions and the overall project cost.

“One option for potable water and sewerage has a lower initial cost and so may be easier to attract funding,” she said.

Loddon Shire’s Tarnagulla Ward councillor Linda Jungwirth said: “Newbridge is well placed for travel to Bendigo, is situated in a beautiful rural setting right on the banks of the Loddon and has several employers nearby whose employees would welcome living within town.

“Bringing sewerage and water to the town has the obvious benefit of enabling an increase in the population.

“This would allow current businesses to realise their potential as well as encourage new businesses which would benefit nearby towns, particularly Tarnagulla.

“The justification for works is not about the current situation but the long term future of a town which has been identified for its growth potential. The trend of moving from city to rural lifestyle is unlikely to slow anytime soon so the time is right,” she said.

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