Council adviser's job safe

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 19/06/2012

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Palmerston North City Council eco-design adviser Adriana Fontan's job has been secured for another year.

A $61,000 budget to support her role in helping people choose energy-efficient solutions to make their homes warmer, drier and healthier was reinstated at the council's last review of its long-term plan yesterday.

In less than a year since her appointment she has helped 191 people improve their homes, 55 businesses to become more energy-efficient, as well as hosting 18 workshops and helping with 180 other interventions.

Cr Chris Teo-Sherrell said her employment was one of few projects the council supported that gave any effect to its goal to be a leading city in the quest to become environmentally sustainable.

He said the job was not about handing out information, but coming up with practical solutions to people's particular housing issues within their budget.

Cr Annette Nixon agreed the council's budget was out of kilter with its sustainability goal.

It was important to help people make their homes healthy, providing unbiased advice on products that were available.

Mayor Jono Naylor also supported the spending.

"It's not just environmental, it's social as well. It's an opportunity for us to ensure people are living in homes that are warm and dry, which has the spin-offs that energy consumption goes down and people are healthier."

The move was opposed by Cr Susan Baty, who said the workload had represented $250 per consultation, and that product suppliers should do the job.

Cr Ross Linklater wanted to cut the job in light of a 5.6 per cent rates increase.

Another sustainability project which survived an 11th-hour challenge by Cr Linklater yesterday was a $100,000 study into the impact of peak oil – a report on how the city could change to cope with an anticipated doubling in the price of petrol.

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- Manawatu Standard

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