November 2014

Anne McLean, whose BRCT work contract ended in November, is sadly missed in the BRCT office, and having enjoyed a more productive and stronger team, we’re redoubling efforts to make sure BRCT gets the resource it needs to continue to deliver projects and results, which includes adequate staffing. We miss you Anne! This month we’ll be responding to the DCC’s call for opinion on Oil and Gas exploration off the Otago Coast. All residents and organisations are invited to contribute and we encourage you to share your thoughts. Feedback must be with the DCC by Friday, 5 December. It can be emailed to (put ‘Block Offer’ in the subject line), posted to PO Box 5045, Moray Place, Dunedin 9058 or dropped off at the Civic Centre.

Interest in E-Bikes, ever since the Electric Bike workshop in October, has continued to grow. We have 21 people who have signed up to learn more about a proposed trial of E-Bikes. What we discovered at the workshop is that there is a quiet revolution happening in transport, centred on E-Bikes, due in no small part to the low cost entry, and happy experience of other E-Bikers.

The Blueskin Food Assessment research project is in a very exciting stage. Some of the findings from our most recent piece of quantitative research has clarified and highlighted some of the informal food economies that we suspected existed. We discovered that 78% of the households surveyed are currently growing food (either animals for meat or eggs, fruit or berries and/or vegetables). Out of those growing food, everyone indicated that they have to supplement with additional food from external sources (whether trading, being gifted from friends or purchasing from somewhere else). We also asked whether they have surplus at any time of the year, what they do with that surplus and what diet they eat. The fascinating findings will go into our report, which will go public early 2015.

At the Otago Business Awards in November we were not overly disappointed to be beaten in the Not-For-Profit category by Clutha First, who certainly deserved their win, and in the Sustainability category we congratulate Preens Drycleaners for their win. All in all it was a great event and we were impressed to see the face of business changing in Dunedin, with a much greater focus than in the past on social and environmental responsibility from the business community.

2014 11 26 14.32.02We’ve enjoyed enviroschool visits, with students keen to learn about our solar installation. It certainly has been fun seeing how many can fit into the small room (Scott’s cubby hole) where the inverter is housed. We had our valued funders (Lottery Grants Board, see inset photo) visit us at the end of November, Scott took them up to the tower for a very windy (thank you weather) excursion.  Prior to Christmas we’ll be heading down to Invercargill to meet with fellow Community Energy Network organisation, Awarua Synergy. Meanwhile we’re working on Cosy Homes issues here in Dunedin and beefing up our energy advice programme. We’re all looking forward to a Christmas break, after an extremely full and productive year and wish you all a happy, safe and sustainable festive season.

If there’s anything you need before the year’s end, chase us up at the BRCT office (we are in the old dental clinic at Waitati School), call us on 4822 048, email us or just check out this website.  We have a load of free energy resources available. Otherwise, we wish you all a lovely Christmas, whether with family, friends or at the Waitati Open Orchards Orphans Christmas –may the season treat you well!