Editorial: Trust keeps region snug

CLAIRE ALLISON
Last updated 08:47 13/01/2014
grant eames
GRANT EAMES: South Canterbury Lines Trust chairman.

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As an organisation, it doesn't have the highest profile, nor the catchiest name.

But the South Canterbury Lines Trust does an astonishing amount to improve the lives of the people in our community.

The trust has a 40 per cent share in our local lines company, Alpine Energy, and a mandate to return 90 per cent of its profits to power consumers.

Most of us will notice when we receive our annual lines trust payout on our power bill; given those bills never seem to get any smaller, any contribution is welcome, and this year's average payout of $46.44 will help.

However, that contribution is a bit like the Biblical tale of giving a man a fish. It means there's something for dinner that night, but doesn't deal with the next night, or the one after that.

This is where the trust's more significant investment in our community comes into its own, through its Healthy Homes project.

Last week, the trust announced that it aimed to insulate 400 South Canterbury homes over the coming year. That is a lot of households, and a lot of families living in warmer, drier, easier-to-heat homes.

The trust will invest $250,000 this year. With help from the government's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and the South Canterbury District Health Board, as trust chairman Grant Eames says, that money will go a long way.

The lines trust will also run a ballot, offering up 60 chances to have the insulation package installed free.

What is even more impressive is the fact that this year's 400 homes will bring the total number insulated through the trust's efforts to 4000.

That really is a lot of warmer, healthier homes that shouldn't be as difficult or costly to heat - and keep heated.

And much of that work has been directed at those homes where it is needed most. Much of the work comes through referrals from the district health board and other organisations.

This, then, is the trust's fishing lesson, and a credit to those farsighted trustees who have taken their responsibilities to their community to heart, These homes, and the families who live in them, should reap the benefits for years to come.

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- The Timaru Herald

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