March/ April 2017

March/April 2017 News

 

Copy of Charlie and honeywrapAt this time of the year we review our activity and set out a plan for the next 12 months. As you are no doubt aware, the Trust is a non-governmental organisation and charity based in Blueskin Bay with its office in Waitati. We work on creating local climate solutions together. We have 2 full-time staff, 1 volunteer administrator, 4 contractors, a number of advisors and volunteers, one compancy, and we are governed by a dedicated board of Trustees.

Currently we have three projects in various stages. They are:

  1. Our Blueskin Turbine: we aim to provide a vehicle for community development while providing greater grid and community resilience and reducing reliance on thermal power plants or distant wasteful electricity. This project is in the advanced stage and is proceeding through the Environment Court to seek regulatory approval.
  2. The Climate Safe House project: this is a multi-decade project addressing housing and vulnerable populations as coast lines change as a result of climate change. It involves research and design and we’re still in the early stage of this project.
  3. Our local smart grid: The combination of technologies and data flows will enable new forms of electricity trading and market structures yet these are only just beginning to emerge. We’re at the scoping stage for this project.

Most of our work is highly collaborative. We are working closely with the Otago Polytechnic on the Climate Safe House project for example and this type of collaboration is always very rewarding. At the bigger picture, Dunedin’s over-arching plan, the Spatial Plan, has an overall objective of a “Compact city with resilient townships”. This important document has informed our own strategic document and helped us prioritise projects.

Alongside our projects we provide a range of services with the goals of: ending fuel poverty; ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being; making our settlements inclusive, resilient and sustainable; providing access to affordable clean energy; enabling responsible consumption; and taking climate action, particularly by promoting emssions reductions and development of renewable energy. These services are:

  • Free Cosy Energy Advice, local call 03 929 1323
  • Home Performance Assessments: energy assessments of your home
  • Healthy Rental Certification: an assessment of compliance with the Residential Tenancies Act
  • Affordable firewood and insulation for individuals and groups
  • Carbon offsets and carbon management
  • Promotion of local food.

We are reviewing our capacity to continue to deliver all these services as funding charitable services remains a big challenge. One small way we raise money for our service provision is sales of Honeywraps. We are very proud to now be a local stockist of Honeywraps - an alternative to plastic wrap that can be reused and reused and is made with organic cotton and a blend of beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil. We stock them at the BRCT office, at Waitati School 1121 Mt Cargill Road and thanks to Hilary and Alex, you can also find them at Roadside Attraction on Harvey Street.

This past month we’ve hosted all the newly elected Councillors as they get out and about around the city to find out what is happening, and time of writing we’re getting excited as we prepare for the great GrassRoots Get-Together to be held on the 19th of March!

Look us up on Facebook as Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, on Twitter as @BlueskinPower and you can call the office on 03 4822048 or call in to visit and find out more about any of our work. You can contact us by email at: office@brct.org.nz.

By Scott Willis