Money for climate project

Long-term plan for region

Last updated 13:26 10/04/2008

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Nelson has received $152,000 of government money to help address climate change and secure a more sustainable future for the region.

The Ministry for the Environment provisionally awarded the funding to the Nelson Environment Centre under the 2008-09 round of the Sustainable Management Fund.

Centre volunteer Katy Steele said the money would go towards addressing climate change and sustainability in the region.

"By the end of the year, we want to have developed a plan for how we want Nelson to look in 50 years," she said.

"We want to work with the community and look at several issues to try and see how we can minimise the impact of certain environmental issues."

Mrs Steele pointed to peak oil as an area that needed serious local intervention to ensure that if a crisis occurred, Nelson was well equipped to deal with it.

According to Environment Minister Trevor Mallard, the purpose of the Sustainable Management Fund is "to support the community, iwi, industry and local government to take practical action that produces long-term environmental benefits".

"The objective is to promote real community involvement and awareness of environmental issues," he said.

The fund has existed since 1996 and allows applications for a minimum grant of $10,000 and a maximum grant of $200,000.

The Nelson Environment Centre aims to use its funding to support and develop a community-led "Transition Town" initiative for Nelson.

Transition Towns are a global network of towns and cities dedicated to raising awareness of the impact small-scale community change has on sustainabilty.

There are 39 officially recognised Transition Towns throughout the world, with two in New Zealand - on Waiheke Island and Orewa, north of Auckland. Mrs Steele hopes Nelson will become the third.

The centre also wants to introduce a local carbon reduction scheme. Mrs Steele said this would be developed in conjunction with the Nelson City Council under Communities for Climate Protection, a nationwide programme that empowers councils to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations.

She said the centre would try to supplement this project by offering a reward system for individuals, businesses and organisations that made efforts to reduce their carbon emissions.

Climate Change Minister David Parker said he welcomed such ventures.

"Taking no action to address climate change will be much more expensive than the costs of any actions we might be considering. Taking action now is like taking out an insurance policy for the future."

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The $152,000 is for one year and will partly go towards employing two fulltime staff to help steer the project.

The Government provisionally awarded 39 proposals a total of $3.84 million (excluding GST).

- Nelson

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