Four local projects will receive more than a quarter of a million dollars in State Government funding after receiving the highest number of points under a new public voting system.
More than $27 million in funding was up for grabs under the government's My Community Project scheme, which was decided by votes from the public for the first time this year.
Wilberforce Men's Shed recorded the highest amount of points (1419) under the preferential voting system, and is now set to receive $81,000 for a new shed. Richmond Swimming Centre will receive $61,144 for installation of seats and shade structures after receiving the second highest number of points (1320).
Richmond School of Arts will get $90,750 to update the building's sound and lighting (1246 points), and the community defib project for Wisemans Ferry will receive $35,000 for public access defibrillators and community education (1024 points).
Voters had to chose between three and five projects in their electorate, then rank the projects in order of preference. First choices received 10 points, second five points and so on.
Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston announced the list of successful projects on September 5.
"My Community Project captured the imagination of the Hawkesbury community with people putting a lot of work into their ideas and it was great to see people get behind the projects that matter to them," she said. "These projects came from the community and were voted on by the community and I now look forward to seeing applicants and sponsors getting on with the job of rolling out these projects and the benefits they will provide to the local community."
Councillor Nathan Zamprogno particularly welcomed the Richmond School of Arts grant, saying he had made funding applications for eight consecutive years.
"I secured them $26,000 of funding in 2010 to upgrade the sound system, but our desire was always to complete the masterplan for renovating the lighting system," he said. "The filament lights could only be driven to 80 per cent brightness - if they blew, there were no replacement parts. Once it dies, that's it.
"The current lighting system was obtained second hand from Channel Nine in the early 1970s, and was old even then. In the old days, the lighting operator dimmed the lights by plunging a live coil of wire wound around a broom handle into a bucket of water.
"The pivotal moment was when the State Government launched this new grant scheme that would be voted on by the public - we knew there was a large and enthusiastic community of patrons of this space, and of community theatre, who would help get this up."