Mayor of the Tweed Councillor Warren Polglase has welcomed this morning’s announcement of a $16.8 million interest-free loan to go towards the $35 million upgrade of the Banora Point Waste Water Treatment Works.

“When I met with the Premier the Hon. Kristina Keneally on site this morning I explained to her how important this loan was for the local community and the environment,” Councillor Polglase said.

“This $16.8 million loan allows this vital upgrade to essential community infrastructure to be brought forward to this financial year.

“Council will now call for tenders early next year, with works expected to start mid-year and completion scheduled for the end of the 2011.”

The upgraded plant will boost capacity from the current 62,500 people to 75,000 to cater for expected growth at the northern end of the shire.

The plant, located off Enterprise Avenue in Tweed Heads South, services the areas of Banora Point, Tweed Heads South, Tweed Heads, Tweed Heads West and Bilambil Heights.

“Our team in the Water Unit were well-advanced in the planning for this project and their ability to hit the ground running has secured this loan for our community,” Councillor Polglase said.

“It’s great news for the environment, as this upgrade will improve the quality of effluent coming out of the plant to bring it to a higher standard for reuse.

“And perhaps even more importantly, this upgrade will improve the quality of water discharged to the estuary which is wonderful news for our river.”

The interest-free loan to Tweed Shire Council is the first in the State to be provided through the NSW Government Local Infrastructure Fund.

The $200 million NSW Local Infrastructure Fund was established to allow local councils to bring forward infrastructure projects delayed due to a lack of funding.