Oct/Nov 2015 News

Oct/Nov News 2015

BRCT Staff  Oct 2015

  In October we were very pleased to welcome Kat Achterberg into the Operations team, which includes John Kaiser and myself, along with the Home Performance Advisor team of Alex King, Michael Gaffney and Peter McDonald. Kat joins us as Projects Coordinator and comes to us with a passion for sustainability and environmental actions and a great spread of experience. The first task Kat has been cutting her teeth on is the National Home Condition Survey. BRCT is working with BRANZ on this national research project (we look after Dunedin and Clutha). BRANZ House Condition Surveys have been carried out every five years since 1994 and provide snapshots of New Zealand’s housing stock at different points in time. This work contributes to our understanding of the issues of fuel poverty in our community and strengthens the Home Performance Assessment service BRCT provides for Dunedin. We love the insights gained through this very thorough inspection process.

 The office continues to hum, not just with new staff and the BRANZ project. The Blueskin Wind Farm development has now picked up pace significantly (see the energy column) and we’ve had submissions to prepare and submit. We’ve made recent submissions on: the Environment Strategy; the 2016 Block Offer; the Energy Plan. These are all available on our website. We are also preparing a submission on the DCC’s proposed Second Generation District Plan.

 In the mayhem one thing that has fallen by the wayside has been the E-newsletter. Maintaining the regular newsletter is proving a challenge not just because we’re all so busy; it been compounded by our lack of computer power. We’re grateful for those donations already received to help us purchase a computer for our busy office, and welcome any further contributions to our computer fund.

 We are also very pleased to have been shortlisted in the Sustainable Business Awards this year for our work. We’re a finalist in the “Innovation Renewables” category competing against: Christchurch Bike Share - Spark Bikes; DB Breweries and Gull; Fulton Hogan and Reid Technology; Smart Hot Water Company, and; solarcity. Great company! Our parter NGO the Akina Foundation is also shortlisted, in the “Community Innovation” category and we wish them all the best!

 The approach of summer is a good time to think of home maintenance and it’s a more pleasant time to insulate, conduct repairs, paint the house, etc. We continue to offer top quality insulation. It is not stocked at the office – we get the right amount in for each job request, and need some ‘lead-in’ time if you are thinking of insulating. Right now, when not thinking about holidays, or energy issues, there’s the garden or course. Recent news on the state of the NZ environment in the ‘Environment Aotearoa’ report and some alarming news from Antarctica research on glacier melt just means we need to redouble all efforts to build a more resilient community and this involves not just food and energy, but also housing, transport and the local economy.

 Look out for further Cuppa Tea articles and get in touch with us if you have a passion for taking action – we have any number of projects and tasks that would benefit from more shoulders to the wheel. And thank you again to all who made this year’s Grass Roots Gig such a fun event and great success.

 The BRCT office is in the old dental clinic at Waitati School, tel: 4822048 , or just check out our website (www.brct.org.nz).

 By Scott Willis