Responding to climate change
The call to sign the Local Government Climate Change Declaration has seen several councils agree to become signatories. Waimate District Council (Council) has carefully considered whether to follow and has decided, at this time, not to sign it.
Council have also considered the actions of other councils who have declared climate emergencies, however, we see little value in signing up to agreements with no clear objectives and goals.
We believe there is more value in actions rather than words and this has been the focus of Council for some time when making decisions. We agree that we are seeing more adverse weather events and major variations in the climate. We have data that supports this, particularly in the roading area, as we are experiencing more intense weather events.
Council will be carefully considering the Zero Carbon Bill and the implications for the Waimate District. This is a conversation we will have with the community and it needs to be an honest discussion about the implications and associated costs. The bottom line is that costs will increase to address climate change and those costs are likely to fall to ratepayers.
Notwithstanding the implications and costs, we recognise that the Waimate District is built on the back of the agriculture sector, therefore, the right type of conversation must take place for the future of the district.
Council believes that the climate is changing and a lot can be achieved if everyone does their part. Every decision we make will take into account the environmental impacts, for example:
- Alpine Energy (a Council CCO) operates a subsidiary ‘Infratec’ who specialises in the research and development of renewable energy systems and solutions.
- Water loss control – protecting our most important natural resource
- Green toilet facilities
- Hybrid Council vehicles
- Land use planning (this will be particularly pertinent as we review our District Plan)
- Reviewing our Waste Management and Minimisation Plan so that we are encouraging and promoting the reuse and recycling of materials.
In summary, Council will work with the community and partner organisations and Iwi to focus our work and decisions that will lessen the environmental impacts and promote ecological use and care for the environment.