March/ April 2016
Sea levels may be half a metre higher by 2050 according to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Flooding wreaked havoc in South Dunedin last year and is likely to do so in our area again as well. The Second Generation District Plan for Dunedin has already designated new high hazard zones. So this past month we have kicked off the Climate Safe House project. This is a project looking for local solutions for problems created by climate change. Dunedin is already in a difficult position. Many Dunedin homes lack rudimentary heating or insulation and fuel poverty is rife in our city. What do we do for those people who live in cold, unhealthy, dilapidated homes at increasing risk of flooding or inundation? How do we maintain community in a changing climate and reduce poor health outcomes? We're looking at having a relocatable home built to provide a model of how we can manage our housing issues and adapt in changing times.
Attendees of our ClimateSafeHouse workshop in Waitati. In the photo (L-R) are: Jen Rodgers (Otago Polytechnic), Chris Fersterer (Otago Polytechnic), Jordana Whyte (Cosy Homes Trust), Susan Fairbrother (DCC), Scott Willis (BRCT) and Kat Achterberg (BRCT). Absent from the photo are Robert Linterman (EECA), Henry Nepia (EECA) and John Kaiser (BRCT).
BRCT Chairman Craig and BRCT Project Coordinator Kat attended a workshop on ‘Sustainable Community Led Development and Local Food Policy’ recently. “It was useful to see how other governing bodies approached problems that affect the whole community” Kat reported, “it was very interesting to see how they went about talking about change and encouraging community participation.” The workshop looked at the Seattle experience and how it could be used in the Dunedin context.
We’ve received more orders for bulk log deliveries and further interest in insulation and we have a new website for the Home Performance Assessment service (via www.brct.org.nz) which provides independent, expert, nationally certified advice to help improve your home's performance, comfort and warmth. We're very pleased to have the Valley Project and Cosy Homes as partners and we are now able to offer free and independent Home Performance Assessments to a number of households in North East Valley. So let your NEV friends know – they might be eligible. Get in touch with the Valley Project (http://www.northeastvalley.org/) for more information. Facebook is a good informal way to keep an eye on activity if you aren’t one to pop in for a visit.
This month there’s a Cuppa Tea article looking at free trade in agriculture in the context of the TPPA by renowned rural sociologist and international food systems expert Dr Hugh Campbell. Food for thought! We’re also very grateful to the mobile traffic webtool team, who’ve provided a really practical tool that we think will serve us well and enable us to communicate conditions on our local roads quickly and efficiently:
BRCT Mobile Traffic
In March big winds toppled trees across roads, ripped sheds apart and generally caused severe disruption around Blueskin Bay. Limited mobility around Blueskin is recurrent issue, especially in winter. Hazards like snow and ice, wandering livestock, fallen trees and car accidents can block roads or disrupt traffic. The frustration of finding yourself held up behind a truck on the road and having to turn back because of obstructions is something we all know. That’s why BRCT worked with Otago Polytechnic students Richard Horne, Jay Watphisit and Alan Craig in 2015, with great support from BRCT associate Tom Clark, to create a mobile traffic webtool.
How does it work? Use the QR code or simply enter the web address (www.brct.org.nz/traffic) into your browser and save it as a favourite.
What will appear when you enter it in your browser is ‘Roading Information’ with 4 options: ‘BRCT Map’, ‘DCC Roading info’, ‘NZTA Roading info’ and ‘BRCT Home’. The only option that is not self-explanatory is the ‘BRCT Map’ option. This is a map with the rough Blueskin zone circled and you have the options of adding or refreshing a marker (you must add your current location). Adding a marker becomes your contribution to the map and will stay there for 3 hours or for as long as people update information on it, whichever is longer. When the issue is resolved, or when 3 hours has past with no update, the marker disappears.
How will it be used? We hope it will be used by many people throughout Blueskin so that obstructions and issues can easily and quickly be shared and updated. The DCC Roading info and NZTA info are additional quick references, but the BRCT Map should be the most relevant for local conditions. We anticipate that this will become a quick and easy reference point to get an overview of local road conditions. We hope the frustration that comes from a thwarted trip will be a thing of the past.
BRCT Trustees Jacinta Ruru and Nicola Mutch worked with Richard, Jay and Alan to outline the problem and ensure that the solution was a good match. BRCT associate Tom Clark made the final tweaks. We are very grateful to all of them for building an extremely useful web tool for Blueskin residents. This tool will help all of us communicate conditions on our local roads quickly and efficiently, and to update that information as the situation evolves.
Our office is located in Waitati at Waitati School, you can find us on Facebook as Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, on Twitter as @BlueskinPower and you can call 03 4822249 or call in to visit and find out more about any of our work.
By Scott Willis