Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust - Columns

 

Here you'll find a collection of BRCT monthly Columns, most recently published first, as submitted to the Blueskin News. For more information about the Trust, go to the main BRCT page.

 

BRCT November 2012

by Scott Willis

The BRCT Annual General Meeting was held at the start of Labour weekend, and as always it provided an opportunity to review the activities of the past year and to look to the future. Trustees accepted with regret the resignations of Antony Deaker and PJ Clarke, both of whom have brought great value to the trust, and elected Charles Abraham and Jenny McDonald as new trustees. The renewed BRCT board of trustees is comprised of: Chris Skellett, Ross Johnston, Gerry Carrington, Katie Parker, Tony Wilson, Charles Abraham and Jenny McDonald. It was a small and intimate AGM, with apologies received, and plenty of productive discussion over a few glasses of wine.

BRCT’s operations continue to grow, as reflected at the AGM, and the Trust is keen to ensure that BRCT maintains the capacity to deliver on projects.

Offers of assistance or interest in BRCT work are always welcome and the Trust is interested in supporting proposals that align with the vision of a positive, healthy, secure and resilient future for Blueskin Bay with sustainable resource use. You can discover more about the Trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/, or check us out on facebook.

 

BRCT October 2012

by Scott Willis

The BRCT office located at Waitati School is warmer thanks to a small working bee comprised of Carl Scott and myself (no more could have fitted in the roof space) and the wonderful support of Insulpro who made a donation of insulation. The next working bee to complete insulation underfloor is yet to be held.

Insulation (donated by Insulpro Ltd) in the BRCT roofspace.

Events with Nicole Foss we organised earlier in the year have stimulated some useful discussion/debate about the local economy, and soon a local symposium. When people roll up their shirt sleeves, ideas lead to action.

The trust’s current projects (wind cluster, energy advice, solar) are all in good health and the AGM is coming up this month. It will be held on Friday the 19th of October, from 7.30pm in Waitati Hall. All are welcome to attend. The AGM is about reporting on what we’ve been up to, looking ahead, changing some of the guard and having a chat.

Offers of assistance or interest in BRCT work are always welcome and the trust is interested in supporting proposals that align with the vision of a positive, healthy, secure and resilient future for Blueskin Bay with sustainable resource use. BRCT trustees and officers are Ross Johnston, Chris Skellett, PJ Clarke, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington, and Kate Parker, with Jeanette Fitzsimons as the trust’s patron. You can also discover more about the trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/, or check us out on facebook.

 

BRCT September 2012

The BRCT is a charitable trust which seeks to improve the resilience of the Blueskin community in four key areas:
•    Energy
•    Food
•    Water
•    Community Resilience (including Education and Local Economy)
The trust’s work is funded out of a combination of grants, donations and contract work, and is hosted on Waitati School grounds by Waitati School. It is the dedicated commitment by paid and volunteer staff that allows BRCT to help build Blueskin’s resilience. Our current projects include:
1.    Insulating the office – Novatherm ceiling and Novafloor underfloor insulation were recently donated to BRCT by Insulpro Ltd for the BRCT office, allowing us to walk the talk on energy efficiency and warm buildings. A big thank-you to Insulpro, for the on-going support of our efforts to build a more resilient community, and for support of the Blueskin Energy Project in particular.  The BRCT office inhabitants keenly appreciate the donation of insulation.
2.    Blueskin Wind Cluster project, see separate article – Scott Willis
3.    Energy Advice, visit www.blueskinpower.co.nz – Chris Freear (Kiwi Chris)
4.    Solar Project, visit www.blueskinpower.co.nz – Chris Le Breton (Imported Chris)
The Chris’s are in the office Mondays & Tuesdays.

Offers of assistance or interest in BRCT work are always welcome and the trust is interested in supporting proposals that align with the vision of a positive, healthy, secure and resilient future for Blueskin Bay with sustainable resource use. To find out about more about BRCT talk with trustees or contact the trust office (tel: 4822048). BRCT trustees and officers are Ross Johnston, Chris Skellett, PJ Clarke, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington, and Kate Parker, with Jeanette Fitzsimons as the trust’s patron. You can also find out more about the trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/.

The BRCT AGM date has been set, and is Friday the 19th of October, from 7.30pm in Waitati Hall. All welcome.

Proud, and soon to-be-warm BRCT employees pose with the donation of Insulpro insulation in August.

 

BRCT August 2012

by Scott Willis

BRCT has received strong support recently, for which we are very grateful, from partnering with the Hikurangi Foundation, both in terms of essential resources and building further relationships with friends of Hikurangi. Already this has led to some important offers of pro-bono expert assistance. In addition, by partnering up with the Energy Cultures team at the University, BRCT is now able to offer public Energy Advice (see BEP column) during a trial over the next few cold months.
The BRCT AGM is coming up and will be advertised once the date is set.
Feedback on BRCT activities and any offers of assistance or interest in BRCT work is always welcome. One of the best ways to find out about BRCT is to talk with trustees or contact the trust office (tel: 4822048). BRCT trustees and officers are Ross Johnston, Chris Skellett, PJ Clarke, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington, and Kate Parker, with Jeanette Fitzsimons as the trust’s patron. You can also find out more about the trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/

 

BRCT July 2012

by PJ Clark

[Waiting for original copy]

 

BRCT June 2012

by Scott Willis and PJ Clark

The Blueskin Energy Project is the BRCT's current number-one priority.

In April, BRCT made submissions to the Dunedin Long Term Plan and Annual Plans. The submissions were  received well. BRCT is also preparing a submission on the DCC's Economic Development Strategy. The DCC has clearly indicated that a city energy plan is a priority. We strongly support their intention. BRCT has already begun discussions with the DCC about how generation at Blueskin might fit within a city energy plan.

BRCT has also been working with the DCC on developing a community energy advice service. In the future, a city energy plan might provide for such a service. Amongst other things, it would complement the DCC's eco-housing initiative. The Energy Cultures group at the University of Otago recently offered BRCT funding to get the energy advice service started. We are grateful for their generous support.

There was a strong response to the latest Blueskin Energy information pamphlet. We have welcomed new subscribers to the BEP Update and have received phone calls and expressions of interest from the community. If you haven't received the pamphlet and would like a copy, call the BRCT office at 4822048.

Alex Hannant recently took over as Executive director of the Hikurangi Foundation. The Hikurangi Foundation's focus is "low-carbon social innovation". Alex will be visiting Dunedin in early June. He has made support for the Blueskin Energy Project a key priority for Hikurangi in 2012-13.  The support and expertise Hikurangi offers BEP will greatly enhance the prospects for viable community-owned wind generation in the Blueskin Bay area.

Scott is now back at work in the BRCT office and will be attending a workshop for people working in community organisations in late June. The BRCT office also recently received a copy of Martin Lehmkoster’s MA thesis “Understanding Climate Change: The Case of the Waitati Transition Town”. Martin and his partner Kim were regular participants in Waitati community activities through 2010-11. His thesis includes a critical appraisal of how climate change is considered as primarily a scientific problem. It also offers some fascinating insights aobut how things work in Waitati and the Blueskin area. We only have one copy but you’re welcome to request a loan , and particularly welcome to provide a review!

To find out more about BRCT, talk with trustees or contact Scott at the trust office, 4822048. BRCT trustees are Ross Johnston, PJ Clarke, Antony Deaker, Tony Wilson, Kate Parker, Gerry Carrington and Chris Skellet. Jeanette Fitzsimons is the trust's patron. You can also find out more about the trust at Blueskin Power.

 

BRCT May 2012

BRCT recently had the opportunity to host world-renowned financial analyst and energy industry consultant Nicole Foss in Blueskin Bay. Her publications and presentations integrate finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and Real Politik to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it. In Waitati Hall on the 19th of March Nicole explained clearly what interesting times we’re heading into. It was clearly not a message we’d ever see on commercial TV, and at times difficult to digest, but it was essential analysis, offering information and advice to help our community build up local resilience. Responses in the different forums she also presented in (to the DCC, at the University, to the Chamber of Commerce) were similar to those received in Waitati Hall – deep interest and concern, followed by some very action orientated questions and discussion. A big thank-you to our local panelists Charles Abraham, Jackie Fanning and Murray Grimwood, who enriched the conversation with local examples; and to everyone else who helped out: Hank Rebman, Sue Hensley, Annie Stuart, Helen Beamish, Carl Scott, Nathan Surendran and everyone who packed up so neatly and promptly.

In parallel, recent robust scientific analysis is now predicting in very strong scientific terms sea-level rise of at least 1 metre in the next 90 years, with it continuing to rise thereafter if we do not collectively change our habits drastically. The challenges are indeed great. It was wonderful to hear of some of our local examples building stronger community, however it was clear from Nicole’s analysis that even if we may have started down a more sustainable path, there is no room whatsoever for complacency and all the need for urgency. BRCT is working with what resources and skills we have, and wants to support others to put the shoulder to the wheel. Issues like energy, food, water, re-housing, transport, local trade are all things that will need greater attention in the coming years. It will require great collective will to achieve a more resilient community, but we’ll be far richer in community terms, if we start now.

Trustees continue to strongly support the work on the Blueskin Energy Project (the trust’s major project) and are grateful to have secured further important financial support the NZ Lottery Grants Board. Meanwhile, work continues to expand activity while maintain capacity to function well.

As always, BRCT welcomes any feedback on its activities and offers of assistance. One of the best ways to find out about BRCT is to talk with trustees or contact Scott at the trust office. BRCT trustees and officers are Ross Johnston, PJ Clarke, Antony Deaker, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington, Chris Skellett and Kate Parker, with Jeanette Fitzsimons as the trust’s patron. You can also find out more about the trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/ , or by calling 4822048.

 

BRCT May 2012

by Chris Skellett, Co-chair

For the last couple of years, you will have been reading in the Blueskin News about the wonderful array of activities under way in the Blueskin area. What a fantastic range of community projects geared towards providing us with a sustainable lifestyle in an uncertain future.

Anyone who attended the Nicole Foss presentation last month could not help but feel alarmed at the inevitability of an impending global economic collapse coupled with a total breakdown of carbon-based energy strategies. Something has to change, and it has to change soon. It's all too easy for us to sit at home and watch the global dramas play out on the six o'clock news, but here in Blueskin Bay (including Purakaunui and Long Beach of course) we have a great opportunity to actually do something about it. Most people choose to live in the area because of the lifestyle. We love looking after our own: growing our own food, chopping our own firewood. Now, within our area there is a growing level of excitement about creating a viable source of renewable energy, a wind cluster.

We have the technical expertise, the financial know how, and the political goodwill, to make something quite special happen in our area. Whatever business model we eventually use, BRCT's commitment is that the community will, as much as possible, own the project, either as shareholders or as members of a co-operative. Community ownership is, both financially and psychologically, the critical factor in the project's success.

Wind cluster plans are being prepared for further community participation. The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust is aware that we would be establishing the first community-owned wind farm in New Zealand. As a prototype of this kind of venture, we have become a nationally significant project and would provide a model for other communities to follow.  We would be able to generate our own power in our own community.

It will be a great feeling to look out at the turbines slowly rotating on the hill, and know that they were built by us, are owned by us, and are pulling us together as a community.  We will have greater control over our power prices, greater certainty over a sustainable power supply and will have achieved something quite radical as a community.

I joined the BRCT as one of six trustees.  We have the role of ensuring that the trust stays true to its objectives. Encouraging Blueskin Bay's resilience, through local food production, transport initiatives, and energy projects such as retrofit house insulation, a planned energy advice service, and the proposed wind cluster, are excellent goals for our community.

I would encourage anyone with an interest in the trust to log on to the website or to visit our office at Waitati School. These are exciting times for the bay. I hope that everyone will feel connected at some level to the idea of developing a more 'resilient' community, and that you can be supportive of the many different and worthy initiatives already under way.

You can find out more about the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/ or by calling 482 2048.

 

BRCT April 2012

On Monday March 19 Nicole Foss spoke at the Waitati Hall. Nicole is an internationally recognised commentator on the world economy, financial systems, peak oil and climate change. She and her colleague Raul Meijer are on a lecture tour of New Zealand and BRCT hosted Nicole and Raul during their time in Dunedin. Nicole also spoke to the Dunedin City Council, the Otago Chamber of Commerce and delivered a lecture at the University of Otago.

We were lucky to have an expert of Nicole's calibre in the Blueskin area. Her lecture wasn't easy going. It was an exceptionally clear, unflinchingly honest and impeccably researched explanation of the way the world is, rather than the way might we wish it to be.

Charles Abraham, Jackie Fanning and Murray Grimwood provided astute local perspectives on the big-picture issues Nicole described. Thanks as well to Hank Rebman, Sue Hensley, Annie Stuart, Helen Beamish, Carl Scott, Nathan Surendran and everyone else who helped with the evening.

If you missed Nicole's lecture, check out her website http://theautomaticearth.org/. You'll find information there you won't get from commercial TV, mainstream media or politicians.

Nicole Foss didn't have much joyful news, but she did have a constructive message: we need to prepare ourselves, our families and our communities for disruptive change. She reminded us that complacency is a trap. We can't prepare for change too early, but we can be too late. 

To cope with the difficulties ahead, we need to develop local food and energy production and means of providing services that local and central government may not be able to deliver in the future. BRCT was set up to advocate for and support that sort of work. Resilience is about being able to cope with change.

We're not helpless. We're lucky we live in a part of the world where we still have options, and we have skilled, hardworking people who are willing to do their bit for our community. Good things are already happening in the Blueskin area but there is more to be done, and soon.

Waitati Open Orchards and Waitati Edible Gardeners are doing great work. They often need a helping hand. At present most of BRCT's resources are allocated to developing the Blueskin Energy Project, but BRCT will still welcome requests for, and offers of assistance.

To find out about BRCT, talk with trustees or contact Scott at the trust office. BRCT trustees are Ross Johnston, PJ Clarke, Antony Deaker, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington, Chris Skellett and Kate Parker. Jeanette Fitzsimons is the trust's patron. You can also find out more about the trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/ or by calling 482 2048.

Doom and gloom aside, getting involved in community projects can be an enjoyable experience. Get involved. If the hard times don't arrive, you won't have lost much, and you may have had some fun.

 

 

BRCT March 2012

By PJ CLarke

Trustees have had a busy month, with a number of meetings and planning sessions. Some trustees have taken on new roles. Work on the Blueskin Energy Project has occupied a high proportion of the Trust's time and resources over the last few months, but the trustees are also considering how they can best support other community projects in the Blueskin area.

In February BRCT delivered an oral submission on the DCC's draft Spatial Plan. The Spatial Plan is important because it will inform other DCC policies and decisions. It outlines options for managing land-use, transportation, food production and energy. It will contribute to the development of the next District Plan, the document that guides the Council's management of the City.

The draft Spatial Plan prefers a management option described as 'Distributed Development.' BRCT supports this concept. Of the options proposed in the Spatial Plan, it is the most favourable for small communities like Blueskin Bay.  

At 7pm on Monday the March 19, Nicole Foss will participate in the Building Local Resilience Forum in Waitati Hall. Nicole is a world-renowned Canadian commentator on oil, financial and environmental issues. She also writes under the nom-de-plume 'Stoneleigh.'

Check out 'The Automatic Earth'

We're lucky to be the first stop on Nicole's NZ Lifeboat Tour. Her visit is well-timed as we are all facing the consequences of rising costs, the global economic crisis and questionable government policies. We are confident the Forum will provide ideas, stimulate discussion and inspire action. Don't miss it.

BRCT is endeavouring to establish an energy advice service. This service would provide householders with free, on-demand expert advice on home energy management.  Two recent requests for funding were declined, but establishing this service remains a priority. BRCT is currently engaged in very positive discussions with the Hikurangi Foundation, about support for the Blueskin Energy Project.

As always, BRCT welcomes any feedback on its activities and offers of assistance. One of the best ways to find out about BRCT is to talk with trustees or contact Scott at the trust office (482 2048.) BRCT trustees are Ross Johnston (co-Chair), Chris Skellett (co-Chair), Antony Deaker (Treasurer), PJ Clarke (Secretary), Kate Parker, Tony Wilson and Gerry Carrington. Jeanette Fitzsimons is the Trust's patron.

You can also find out more about the Trust at: blueskinpower

 

BRCT February 2012

Happy New Year to you all. 2012 has arrived with some new developments for BRCT.  In December, BRCT Chair Lynnaire Johnston stood down from the trust after 18 productive months at the helm and the trust wishes to thank Lynnaire for all her hard work. At the same time, BRCT is very pleased to welcome Kate Parker from Warrington on board as a new trustee, while Ross Johnston (no relation to Lynnaire) and Chris Skellett have been appointed as co-Chairs.

The New Year seems a timely moment to reiterate that the BRCT’s vision is “to facilitate a positive, healthy, secure and resilient future for Blueskin Bay and linked communities and promote sustainable resource use”.  The Blueskin Energy Project is BRCT’s main focus, as this initiative appears to contain the best prospects for not just greater energy security but also greater economic security for Blueskin Bay.  And it is with questions of economic turmoil and resource depletion in mind that BRCT is hosting a public forum on the subject of “Building Local Resilience”. We are proud to announce that internationally renowned speaker and thinker Nicole Foss will headline this forum on the 19th of March in Waitati Hall (7pm) and we are planning a dynamic event. Make sure that date is in your diary! Remember, BRCT is driven by community ideas and primarily volunteer power, so if you have an idea for an event or project, or you'd like to run under the BRCT umbrella, please let us know.

The Clarke family, Nicky, Nathan, Max, Austin and Forest, who have been such community stalwarts during their time in Blueskin Bay, have recently upped sticks for Nelson. They’re already sadly missed (though I expect they’ll receive plenty of visitors at their new home). As a parting memento though they have generously donated Nathan’s steam-punk spit-roaster to BRCT, to use at community events, So in lieu of Nicky catering for us, they’ve provided the tools for us to do it ourselves – now that’s fostering resilience!

In funding news, the DCC community fund contributed $2400 to BRCT late last year, which will assist the trust’s efforts to develop a Community Energy Advisory service, while results from other applications for the same purpose are still pending. The trust enters 2012 with a reliance on a mix of community funding, contract work, donations and volunteer contributions.

As always, BRCT welcomes any feedback on its activities and offers of assistance. One of the best ways to find out about BRCT is to talk with trustees or contact Scott at the trust office. BRCT trustees and officers are Ross Johnston, PJ Clarke, Antony Deaker, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington, Chris Skellett and Kate Parker, with Jeanette Fitzsimons as the trust’s patron. You can also find out more about the trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/ , or by calling 4822048.

 

BRCT December 2011

By Scott Willis

The DCC decision on the BRCT application for funding support to pilot a Community Energy Advisory service is still pending, as I write. The BRCT office needs a good (though late) spring-cleaning, after all the recent activity in the energy area particularly. This is always a hectic time of the year though, and BRCT will meet in December to set strategic direction again for the 2012 – 2015 period. One thing that is on the table for 2012 is a workshop for sustainability/transition groups in Blueskin, to try to see if there are any challenges and solutions within the great variety of dynamic initiatives underway. Time is short for solving the problems we all face collectively and yet its worth pausing a moment to celebrate the community energy to ‘get things done’ – the days are long gone when its a small group of ‘all the same people’. Much has happened since the early days - we've all grown and systems have evolved, we've developed experience, ways of working, encountered problems and experienced the joys of success.

Coming up also in December I will be attending a meeting of Climate Change hubs in Wellington, and I’ll take that opportunity to have a range of meetings to further Blueskin Energy Project ambitions and shore up national networks to enhance BRCT actions.

Meanwhile, if you’re aiming for some high AND low carbon engaged summer action away from Blueskin Bay, why not head along to the ‘Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival’ in Mataura, 20 -23rd January? (see: http://nocoalsummerfest.org.nz/).

Now, some more detail on the draft Spatial Plan. Copies of the draft Spatial Plan and the summary document are available at our local library, the DCC and online at www.dunedin.govt.nz/consultation/spatialplan. I also have some copies of the summary in the BRCT office (please after 3pm – best day Friday). Strong elements? The Challenges of Climate Change, Peak Oil and Natural Hazards have been clearly identified. The preferred option for future planning is “Distributed Development” which essentially recognises the different character and values of distinct communities to enable more holistic planning. That could mean local provisioning of energy (BEP action), low carbon transport systems (Blueskin Low Oil Commuting, W3, walking and cycling groups, Get-The-Train), local food production (Weggies, Waitati Open Orchards, local growers) and other things. It will mean we plan to evacuate low-lying areas over time and certainly stop building in flood zones. It will mean we build up the local economy (rezoning, allowing more appropriate scale business activity) and ensure we have the infrastructure to ensure quality of life for people in our communities. A sobering article in the guardian really underlines why we must plan for a low carbon future (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/09/fossil-fuel-infrastruc...). In it, the International Energy Agency, a very conservative body, argues that if we don’t change our energy infrastructure within the next five years, we’ll lose ‘for ever’ the opportunity to stop runaway climate change. In relation to the spatial plan, the long-term plan and the city’s economic development, it means we must stop courting oil exploration companies (old fossil fuel industry) and redirect city funding and resources towards clean technology. Only by ending subsidies to fossil fuel can we hope to build a positive future for our children.

The BRCT’s office number is 4822048 and BRCT trustees and officers are Lynnaire Johnston, PJ Clarke, Antony Deaker, Ross Johnston, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington and Chris Skellett, with Jeanette Fitzsimons as the trust’s patron. You can find out more about the trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/

 

BRCT November 2011

By PJ Clarke

New Zealand has had a pretty good party over the last couple of months. Now parties of a different nature are demanding our attention. Politicians of various hues assure us that the way ahead for New Zealand is a return to growth, unbridled consumption and continuing reliance on old, dirty technologies. Such 'business as usual'
assurances are at best questionable and are arguably misleading and dishonest, however seductive they may seem.

For an alternative, positive view of New Zealand's future, check out Dr Janet Stephenson's article in issue 30 of the University of Otago Magazine, available online.

Janet, a Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) supporter, argues that New Zealand has 'a huge opportunity to build on our natural advantages'. One such advantage is our relatively high availability of
renewable energy. Initiatives like the Blueskin Energy Project (BEP) give communities means to provide for their future energy needs by pursuing energy efficiency and renewable generation under local rather than corporate control. Other projects in the Blueskin area are developing food and transport security.

A long-term BRCT goal is to facilitate autonomous local ventures through the development of social enterprises. A social enterprise delivers social and environmental outcomes but is organised and managed as a business. This may be an appropriate model for the Blueskin Energy Project.

The recent BEP Open Days demonstrated strong local interest in sustainability and community resilience. Trustees involved in the events were impressed by the turnout, the enthusiasm, and particularly the quality of the questions, ideas, critiques and discussion contributed by those attending.

The BRCT/BEP office at Waitati School receives regular enquiries about energy issues. BRCT has submitted a funding request to the Dunedin City Council to allow us to trial a Community Energy Advisory Service. A DCC committee will consider the application in November. If the application is successful, another staff member will join the BRCT team.

BRCT supports the very successful Waitati Open Orchards group and recently transferred funds applied for under the BRCT mandate into WOO's control.

The Waikouaiti Coast Community Board contributed $862.50 to the Blueskin Energy Project's recent community engagement. Trustees appreciate WCCB members' interest in BRCT projects and their support in the current difficult funding environment.

BRCT trustees have had much to celebrate this past month. Chris Skellett launched a new book 'When Happiness is Not Enough' to great acclaim and nationwide interest. Antony Deaker and Mikaela Wilson celebrated the arrival of a healthy new addition to the Deaker-Wilson household on 19 October. Well done to all!

As always, BRCT welcomes any feedback on its activities and offers of assistance. One of the best ways to find out more about BRCT is to talk with trustees, or contact Scott at the BRCT office. BRCT trustees and officers are Lynnaire Johnston, PJ Clarke, Antony Deaker, Ross Johnston, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington and Chris Skellett. Jeanette Fitzsimons is the trust's patron. You can find out more about the trust, including contact details, here.

 

BRCT October 2011

Thanks to generous financial support from the Otago Community Trust and others, and a sustained effort from volunteer helpers, the Blueskin Energy Project was able to hold Open Days at Long Beach, Warrington and Waitati. BRCT trustees from Purakaunui (Ross Johnston), Warrington (Chris Skellett) and Waitati (Lynnaire Johnston) were available to answer questions and discuss BEP proposals.

A big thank-you to everyone who attended over the three days. The quality of discussion was excellent.  It demonstrated the deep thought people are giving to the future energy needs of their households and communities. The many suggestions contributed by those attending will be considered by the BRCT trustees and will influence the future direction of the Blueskin Energy Project.

A particular thank you to Laurence Hay, whose invaluable assistance made the Open Days run like clockwork. Thanks as well to Barbara Johnston, Gerry Thompson, Therese Hailes, Seth Gorrie, Jenna Packer, John Kaiser, Charles Abraham, Nathan Clarke, Steven Jenkins, Luke Johnston, Hank Rebmann, Leone Rousselot, Phillipe Gelis and Alison Gilmore. Thank you Kelvin for your timely distribution of flyers. If I have missed anyone, please forgive me!

BRCT continues to work on applications for funding to support our projects and the necessary community engagement. BRCT has a new website. Information about the Trust and trustees is available there.

Throughout New Zealand and the World, communities are looking for practical ways to develop renewable energy, local food supply and sustainable transportation. It’s certainly not too early to be putting some serious work into these issues. The current state of the World economy and financial markets is a reminder that we need to do all we can to increase the viability and resilience of our local community. We can’t assume that decisions made hundreds or thousands of miles away will be the best for our families, households and communities. As far as we are able, we need to take charge of our futures. 

Next month we will report on the follow-up to the BEP open days. Contact 4822 048.

 

BRCT September 2011

On the 30th of July, BRCT Patron Jeanette Fitzsimons was in Waitati to meet some of the people associated with the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust and the local initiatives that have some relationship with the trust. The pot-luck hosted by Jenny Hayden and PJ Clarke was a true gastronomic affair and it was equally fulfilling to have the different reports on local initiatives and to share stories and experiences while also learning more of Jeanette’s other work and interests.

In August BRCT’s two new trustees (PJ Clarke and Chris Skellett) were officially ratified, with both bringing their extensive expertise and skills to the trust and enhancing BRCT’s ability to deliver for Blueskin communities.

New BRCT trustees PJ Clarke (mostly obscured in this upload) and Chris Skellett, with Jenny Haydon and BRCT patron Jeanette Fitzsimons, at the Porteous Hill wind tower overlooking Blueskin Bay.

Also in August, it was confirmed that the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust will now proceed promptly with the community engagement and appraisal on/of the wind cluster proposal after confirmation of a generous donation gifted by the Otago Community Trust (and following a contract awarded by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority). BRCT would like to note its deep appreciation of the Otago Community Trust’s support and vision of building capacity for community action. One further funding application to support effective community participation is being considered by the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board.

The Waitati Energy Project, one of the initiatives under the BRCT umbrella, has just announced a name change: it has now become the ‘Blueskin Energy Project’ and as such it now aligns more accurately with the trust’s strategic plan and overall vision (“to facilitate a positive, healthy, secure and resilient future for Blueskin Bay and linked communities and promote sustainable resource use”). As the Waitati Energy Project has grown and developed, so have the numbers of people involved grown. The potential for all Blueskin communities to be involved and benefit has also become obvious. The name change had simply become inevitable.

BRCT’s trustees and officers are: Lynnaire Johnston, Antony Deaker, PJ Clarke, Tony Wilson, Gerry Carrington, Chris Skellett and Ross Johnston; Jeanette Fitzsimons is the trust’s patron. Established in 2008, BRCT aims to assist groups and individuals in Blueskin Bay address the opportunities and vulnerabilities associated with Climate Change and Peak Oil. Contact, Tel: 03 4822048.

 

BRCT August 2011

Preparing for BRCT’s Annual General Meeting (I know, most people like to avoid them) has been a fascinating experience for the trust (BRCT’s AGM was on the 27th of July in Waitati Hall). Reflecting on a busy past 12 months is a little like sitting back with a cup of tea and reviewing a good job. Yes, there could always have been improvements here or there, but overall, it has been satisfying to see the consolidation that has occurred, the transition to a new office, and the range of successful projects. Highlights of the past 12 months have to be: 1). The fantastic progress on developing a wind cluster for Blueskin Bay, and associated with that, all the new opportunities opening up around ‘Blueskin Power’ as a community energy project with many clean-technologies. 2). Waitati Open Orchards (a branch of the Weggies) is thriving, while BRCT is happy to see the Blueskin Bays Edible Gardens work has now become a longer term funded position at Waitati School with ‘World Wide Fund for Nature’ support, ensuring a deepening of the enviroschool programme, (and all other Weggie activities are in good heart). 3). Get-The-Train had a successful ‘Car Free Day’ in 2010 and has maintained its lobbying role. 4). Blueskin Low Oil Commuting had a great launch on the Global Day of Action on Climate Change (10/10/10) last year and has become a quiet network of bicycle commuters and a lobbying force for the strategic transport zone of Blueskin Bay. 5). Finally, BRCT was proud to be associated with the development of the Waitati PTA’s “Blueskin Community Directory” in March this year (have you got your copy yet?).

Most recently, BRCT received notification of funding success for the Waitati Open Orchards thanks to the ANZ Staff Foundation. BRCT also secured a contract from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority for community engagement, and is anticipating learning the results of another funding application in support of the energy project.

A deep winter occasion for BRCT supported groups and friends to get together will be (as I write) on the 30th of July, when BRCT patron Jeanette Fitzsimons is in Waitati for a catch-up visit and pot-luck, and to have a look around all that is going on in our wide Blueskin community. In other trust news, Simon Sheppard has stepped down from the trust to focus on his university work. BRCT thanks Simon for his valuable input in Trust affairs over the past year and we wish you the best in exams and study. And BRCT volunteer Justine Molloy, having found cosy BRCT homes for ‘the lost files’, has now joined the Puketeraki Marae team, leaving the BRCT office with clear desks and straightforward files (long may it last!). Thank you Justine for all your help!

Established in 2008, BRCT aims to assist groups and individuals in Blueskin Bay address the opportunities and vulnerabilities associated with Climate Change and Peak Oil. Contact, Tel: 03 4822048.

 

BRCT July 2011

Firstly a clarification regarding an article on the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) in last month’s issue (‘BRCT honored in Community Awards’) [in the Blueskin News]. BRCT provides an umbrella service and assistance at the request of several sustainability initiatives in Blueskin Bay, and in fact emerged to fill this need, rather than being the origination of these initiatives. BRCT is much more hands-on in the energy sphere and the Waitati Energy Project, as this initiative is seen as providing a vehicle that will over time help build up community resilience and assist other initiatives. BRCT seeks to enhance existing creativity and passion and ensure initiatives can thrive and enrich our community.

Late May BRCT was invited to a DCC organised ‘Community Builders Hui’. More than anything this was a wonderful occasion to meet other community groups around Dunedin, and what was clear to all present was the incredible importance and value of local media. As such it was a timely reminder of how important our noteworthy Blueskin News is not only for us, but also for effectively projecting Blueskin dynamism beyond our communities.

June was a very full month for the BRCT, mainly around organising the “Democratising Energy” Hui at Karitane. Kati Huirapa Runaka were generous hosts for the Hui, providing a wonderful mihi/welcome when visitors arrived at the marae, and ensured success by helping out with all the IT needs, etc. BRCT is excited by our strengthening relationship with the runaka and with our ongoing relationship with the Hikurangi Foundation who enabled the Hui (see the WEP column for details).

BRCT (in mid June) is awaiting the results of funding applications in support two initiatives: Waitati Energy Project (Blueskin Power) and Waitati Open Orchards, and of course most groups supported by BRCT have been busy in June, with mulching, pruning and feasting and dancing by WOO, WEP’s Hui, and Get-the-Train’s ongoing lobbying via submissions for a local passenger rail service.

Established in 2008, BRCT aims to assist groups and individuals in Blueskin Bay address the opportunities and vulnerabilities associated with Climate Change and Peak Oil. The trust’s main community action is Energy and we provide umbrella service to Waitati Edible Gardeners, Get-The-Train, and Blueskin Low Oil Commuting. BRCT trustees and officers are Lynnaire Johnston, Antony Deaker, Simon Sheppard, Ross Johnston, Tony Wilson and Gerry Carrington), and Jeanette Fitzsimons is the trust’s patron. See the notice this month for information on the BRCT’s Annual General Meeting in July.

 

BRCT June 2011

May saw some good progress being made within two of the organizations umbrella'd by the BRCT.  The WEP (Waitati Energy Project) volunteer team and OWL (Our Wind Ltd) successfully installed the 10 meter test tower at the Porteous Road site on the 13th May, and WOO (Waitati Open Orchards) recently submitted a funding bid to allow further work to be undertaken on the open orchards front.

We are also pleased to confirm that a total of $3329 was raised at the Christchurch Charity Auction after the Dana Lyons Gig in February and this money has been sent to Project Lyttleton to benefit victims of the earthquake.

This month also saw the Trust win a commendation at the DCC Trustpower Community Awards in the category of Health and Wellbeing; with thanks to the Waikouaiti Coast Community Board for nominating the Trust.  Lynnaire Johnson has posted some more details on this on the facebook page.  The BRCT has been offered a contract By EECA for some research on community engagement.  However, the Trust was less successful in a bid to the Community Environment Fund, which was oversubscribed by almost 9 million dollars!
In other news, we bade farewell to our intern Xavier as he heads home and thanked him for his efforts working with Scott on the many aspects of the day-to-day running of the Trust.  A great talk was given by Dr Jim Hansen at Otago University on climate change and the 350 movement.  He placed a lot of emphasis on the legacy he see’s us leaving future generations and gave some entertaining thoughts on his interactions with policy makers, lots of good food for thought for the believers and the skeptics.  A turnout of close to 1000 members of the Dunedin community served to illustrate the extent of both his following in NZ and the interest of the local community in this topic.

 

BRCT May 2011

The month of April started off with the Waitati A&P show where BRCT's project manager Scott Willis manned and hosted an information stand on behalf of the variety of community initiatives that fall under the umbrella of the BRCT; including the Waitati Energy Project (WEP), WEGgies, Get the Train (GTT) and Blueskin Low Oil Commuters (BLOC).  Gatherings such as the A&P show are important opportunities for the community to reflect on the vision and aims of the BRCT as it looks to assist these groups to move forward on their individual community sourced themes and goals.  Scott hosted some lively discussions and came away with offers of volunteer support and plenty of thoughts for keeping the momentum being generated by these projects in line with the community spirit.

On this theme, plans are being put together to start a new round of the WEP Community Engagement Project to canvas the opinions of residents of Blueskin Bay with regards to local community based power generation and energy efficiency initiatives, so keep an eye on this column and the blackboard on Harvey Street for details on official events or give us a call any time to air your views at 4822048.

This month also saw the patron of the BRCT, Jeanette Fitzsimmons give a talk at the University titled "Keep The Coal In The Hole: Why Southland Lignite Shouldn't Be Mined". 

News from under the BRCT umbrella is that the WEP is making progress in their joint venture investigation with OWL (Our Wind Limited) with the recent delivery of wind measuring equipment at a site on Porteous Road as part of the efforts of WEP and OWL to further generate information on the 'wind profile' of the Blueskin Bay area and we look forward to hearing more of developments in this space as they progress.

Finally, the Blueskin Community Directory, produced by the Waitati PTA and strongly supported by the BRCT, is full of Civil Defence information, local groups and businesses, local services and of course all our local numbers in a slim, elegant and well laid out format. BRCT’s copy was purchased from the Waitati School office during school hours and otherwise the PTA is delivering copies to you: give them a call (4822888), or put your name on any of the Blueskin Directory forms around Blueskin for delivery.

 

BRCT April 2011

Grass Root Gig
A great big and heartfelt thank you to all the community volunteers who made the inaugural GRG a wonderful night. Dana, I can report, loved his Blueskin experience (thanks especially to Kay, Jenny and PJ, and Sue H) and everyone I’ve spoken to has been so complementary of the performers – Kay, Dana, Antony, the Blueskin Vista Social Club and Those Fillers. Thank you to everyone involved: Carl, Xavier, Leonie, Hank, PJ and Jenny, Kay, Simon and Lucy, Sue H, Pip, Jenna, Nicky, Jan and Dave and the rest! To those who asked hopefully if there will be more GRGs, I think I can confidently say a big YES! Here are Xavier’s photos taken at the Grass Roots Gig .

Charity Auction for Christchurch
The Grass Roots Gig raised almost $300 (after costs) to help sustain the BRCT and services for community initiatives. The Charity Auction, which took place during the GRG, raised money to rebuild Christchurch resilience. All profits from the Auction (a total of now over $3320) will now be donated to ‘Project Lyttleton’ to use in work that supports people affected by the earthquake. A huge thank-you to all the individuals, groups and businesses who donated goods and services.

Project Lyttelton
Lyttelton is Christchurch’s port town with its own identity, much like Blueskin Bay. It is joined to the city by road and rail tunnels and two road passes, with a population of 3000. ‘Project Lyttelton’ is a strong grass roots community group (and charitable trust) in Lyttelton, with a vision of creating a vibrant and sustainable community. This volunteer run organisation has initiated projects like a Time Bank, a Farmers Market, community gardens, energy projects, The Lyttelton News, festivals, etc (see: www.lyttelton.net.nz). Just like groups in the Blueskin area ‘Project Lyttelton’ is well aware of the global issues of peak oil, climate change, and financial collapses and has been consciously working at a local level on these issues. The earthquake destroyed virtually all their heritage buildings, yet caused mercifully few local fatalities. Their preparedness and resilience resources proved their worth on the ground during the first days of the crisis and provides inspiration and tools for other Christchurch communities.

OWL
The Memorandum of Understanding signed with OWL on the 9th of March will enable some of the tricker questions around community wind to be addressed. This MoU is similar to other MoUs BRCT holds with other parties in that it helps ensure a trusting relationship is maintained, but also crucially different in that it could lead to a stronger relationship in the form of a partnership if there is community support.

Funding
BRCT gratefully acknowledges the support of Lotteries who have approved a bid for funding to support the project management of the community renewable energy project.

Community Directory
Six months from conception, implementation to delivery by a dedicated team of community volunteers and the Waitati PTA’s ‘Community Directory’ is now on sale for a mere $8. First advance copies available at the A&P show on the 2nd of April. BRCT is a proud supporter of this project.

About the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust

Established in 2008, BRCT’s main community action is Energy and it provides umbrella service to Waitati Edible Gardeners, Get-The-Train, and Blueskin Low Oil Commuting. BRCT trustees and officers are Lynnaire Johnston, Antony Deaker, Simon Sheppard, Ross Johnston, Tony Wilson, and Gerry Carrington. Jeanette Fitzsimons is the trust’s patron. More information on the Trust’s vision, mission, objectives and activities is available on the Transition Waitati webpage: www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati or by contacting me on 03 4822048

 

BRCT March 2011

Community Funraiser
The Inaugural Blueskin 'Grass Roots Gig', is on Monday, the 7 March, in Waitati Hall. Doors open 7.30 pm (till late), and it’s a $10 entry, with under 13 years free. BYO and some $ for the community cafe. Dana Lyons, in his first NZ stop in his world tour (promoting his new album "Three Legged Coyote"), headlines this funraiser. Is it his policy of "I’ll play anywhere once" that has led him to Waitati or is it the world famous Blueskin crowd? Blueskin favourite Kay Row is back too and I’ll personally write you a note if you happen to have too much fun and get to work late on Tuesday morning. Dana is a folk/alt rock musician renowned for his dynamic performances and outrageous hit songs (no age restriction though). Any funds raised will support developing infrastructure for our new community office.

Office
Our new office is the old dental clinic at Waitati School and by March all our internet and telephones should be working – something Xavier and I are looking forward to. Xavier is our new intern from the International Business Academy in Denmark. He arrived on the 12th of March and will be with us until May, and is already a great asset to the trust. At present Xavier is mainly working on establishing the feasibility of an eco-social community business model – that’s a community business that has higher values than simply turning a profit, but that ideally can generate income to enhance the social and environmental imperatives of community action.

Community Directory
At time of writing the Waitai PTA has taken full responsibility for the Community Directory and Laurence Hay is now assisting the PTA. Look out for it on sale soon – the final drafts are just being done.

Scouting for Talent
BRCT, thanks to volunteer Laurence Hay, has developed a Volunteer Strategy so we can value volunteer input for volunteers and for community good. We’re now working on putting this in practice and are seeking some specific talent. Do you have an interest and a talent in book-keeping (and in BRCT’s work)? The Trust has monthly PAYE and bi-monthly GST to pay, and simple documentation of inputs/outputs (about 10 transactions a month). Please get in touch if this is you.

About the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust
BRCT was established in 2008 to assist groups and individuals in Blueskin Bay address the opportunities and vulnerabilities associated with Climate Change and Peak Oil. Currently its main community action is Energy and it provides umbrella service to Waitati Edible Gardeners, Get-The-Train, and Blueskin Low Oil Commuting. BRCT seeks opportunities to foster community spirit and grow community capacity. There’s one employee (myself), and key volunteers, a great range of supporters, a strong and passionate community who generously lends its experience and assets, and of course BRCT trustees and officers (Lynnaire Johnston, Antony Deaker, Simon Sheppard, Ross Johnston, Tony Wilson and Gerry Carrington), and our new patron, Jeanette Fitzsimons.

More information on the Trust’s vision, mission, objectives and activities is available on the Transition Waitati webpage: www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati or by contacting me on 03 4822048.

 

BRCT February 2011

Transition
We have moved! The new BRCT office is now located in the old dental clinic at Waitati School. Our new office is comfortable and well suited to BRCT activities, and it's exciting to be more closely aligned with Waitati's most dynamic hub institution – the school. There are still piles of paper to be sorted, books to be restacked, and general
order to be made, but then all around us classrooms are changing: paint is going on, other offices are being moved -- it's a busy dynamic place. As always, visitors are welcome, preferably after 3pm. Many thanks to Mark and Rayna Dickson for their support of BRCT over so long and this move is a change in location, not focus.

Funraiser
We're holding a family funraiser on Monday, 7 March, in Waitati Hall (any profits will help cover the costs of our office transition). We've been lucky enough to get Dana Lyons, freshly arrived from the US of A on his world tour, to headline Blueskin Bay's inaugural Grass Roots Gig. Have you heard his No.1 'Cows with Guns'? Dana is promising topical songs, love songs, comedy and inspiration. He's played with Neil Young and Willie Nelson among others. Described as 'an out-of-control Johnny Cash', Dana promises to shake Blueskin Bay. The question is, will we be inundated by country rock fans from all over Otago? Check out http://www.cowswithguns.com/cgi-bin/home.cgi for some music samples.

Community Directory
Finally in 2011 the long awaited community directory will appear. Anyone who's lived in Blueskin Bay a decade or more will recall what a fantastic, essential resource the community directory is and how copies of the 2000 edition have become treasures in their own right – artifacts that document the community changes through time. Laurence Hay is co-ordinating the directory, working closely with Waitati School PTA and with Geraldine
Tait. I am looking forward to getting my copy because my old one fell apart some years ago and now I have to struggle through the Otago book for local numbers.

Current Focus
Trustees are supporting the Community Environment Fund bid to develop energy initiatives and have been busy assisting with business plans, strategic guidance and developing partnerships. There has also been important 'behind the scenes' work going on ensuring transparent and efficient systems to make certain that BRCT remains a dynamic, action-enabling charitable trust. The trust now has one employee (myself) and will soon host an international intern, and is supported by a number of dynamic and greatly appreciated volunteers.

More information on the Trust’s vision, mission, objectives and activities is available on the Transition Waitati webpage: www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati or by contacting me on 0274888314.

 

BRCT December 2010

BRCT was established in 2008 to assist groups and individuals in Blueskin Bay communities address the opportunities and vulnerabilities associated with Climate Change and Peak Oil. Currently its main community project is the Waitati Energy Project and Blueskin Power. It is also currently providing umbrella service to Waitati Edible Gardeners, Get-The-Train, and Blueskin Low Oil Commuting and seeks opportunities to foster community spirit and grow community capacity. BRCT currently only has one employee (myself), there are volunteers who help oil the BRCT machine (more of a simple and effective bicycle really), volunteers and contractors who run the initiatives BRCT helps with, a strong and passionate community who generously lends its experience and assets, and of course BRCT trustees and officers (Lynnaire Johnston, Antony Deaker, Simon Sheppard, Ross Johnston, Tony Wilson and Gerry Carrington), and our new patron, Jeanette Fitzsimons.

BRCT is now in the process of planning a move to new premises at Waitati School early in the New Year. We’ve been strongly supported by Mark and Rayna Dickson since 2009 with office space in the Old Waitati Stores, and we still get people coming in the door asking “are you a shop – what do you do here?”. This is our first ever community office and while we currently have great ‘main street’ presence, the move to new premises is part of a longer term strategy to streamline functioning, strengthen collaborative partnerships, build greater efficiency and provide hub services. We’re very excited to be relocating to a dynamic community/school hub (with Waitati School growing further with the relocation of Blueskin Play Centre), while having the opportunity to share resources and information with greater ease. I am looking forward to this exciting new stage for BRCT and I want to thank Mark and Rayna for helping establish BRCT’s first community office!

At the date of writing, BRCT is working on Strategic Planning to provide clear direction for the short, mid and long-term. Planning will culminate with a BRCT Strategic workshop, with all Trustees, Officers and staff, on the weekend of 27-28 November at Waitati School.

Meanwhile, on behalf of the Trust and in conjunction with the Waitati School PTA, Laurence Hay is working on a long overdue Community Telephone Directory. The ultimate community resource, once complete this will be made available for all Blueskin communities not covered in other directories. Of course for civil defence purposes it helps to have a local directory, but its even more valuable in making it easy for us to be more connected and aware of who is in our own neighbourhoods, and how to get in touch (or get connected if we’re new to the community).

Over summer I’ll be hosting Seth Gorrie in the BRCT office. Seth is doing some research on community perspectives around Blueskin Power and will have the office to use if needed.

More information on the Trust’s vision, mission, objectives and activities is available on the Transition Waitati webpage: www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati or by contacting me on 03 4822048.

 

BRCT November 2010

Exciting news! Jeanette Fitzsimons, a great friend of Blueskin Bay and many time visitor has accepted a new role as our BRCT patron. Jeanette’s support gives profile to our ambition to run a resilient local energy system – and pioneer this nationally for New Zealand. What is just as exciting in Jeanette’s support is the link BRCT will establish to other nationally significant issues while maintaining our real Blueskin focus. BRCT has grown further with emeritus professor Gerry Carrington joining the trust and providing a ‘bridge’ with our close partner the Otago Energy Research Centre and the University of Otago. Simon Sheppard has also joined as BRCT treasurer, with the trust now consisting of Lynnaire Johnston (Chair), Antony Deaker (Secretary), Simon Sheppard (Treasurer) Ross Johnston, Tony Wilson and Gerry Carrington. Trustees and officers provide excellent governance for BRCT and are good people to talk to if you want to find out more about BRCT or just what it is that BRCT does and can do.

The word out is that the inaugural Blueskin Bay Working Breakfast meeting on the 15th of October was a huge success. Jenny Hayden is the co-ordinator and would be thrilled to hear of others working locally who would like to attend the next breakfast. Contact Jenny on 4821409.

I was blown away by the Blueskin 101010 event (the 10th of October!). BRCT can support crucial actions like this but without the passion and ability of people like Carl Scott and Virginia Toy and all the others who co-ordinated walkers, the community get-together, provided great music, or created great local food, computer revamps, gardened and planted, etc, nothing could be achieved. That so much was happening on one of the most atrocious Spring days we’ve had is testament to the power and adaptability to our greater Blueskin community and certainly something to be celebrated! The launch of Blueskin Low Oil Commuting and renewed interest in the W3 Rideshare scheme are just two outcomes from the day.

Meanwhile our Angel Volunteer programme is being developed by Laurence Hay for BRCT. It is also exciting to keep hearing and seeing the Weggie initiatives producing results both in building greater links between each community around Blueskin Bay and their respective youth at the three enviroschools, and in enriching our neighbourhoods and streets through the Waitati Open Orchard initiative.

More information on the Trust’s vision, mission, objectives and activities is available on the Transition Waitati webpage: www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati or by contacting me on 03 4822048.

 

 

BRCT October 2010

BRCT is supporting the launch of the Blueskin Low Oil Commuting group this month (Sunday the 10th of October) and the Blueskin 101010: Climate Change Hikoi, led by passionate community volunteers, facilitated by Waitati School, and supported by Waitati, Warrington and Purakaunui Schools. There’s a growing sense of collective Blueskin identity, and greater power in integrated actions that are expressed well by the ‘Climate Change Hikoi’ – a metaphorical as well as literal journey. And what a fantastically successful “Car Free Day”on the 22nd of September organised by Get The Train! A big congratulations is due to all the hardworking volunteer team who made the event possible, and who continue to work towards establishing commuter rail for our communities. BRCT is proud to support such passion and dynamism.
One of BRCT’s objectives is to stimulate local sustainable economic activity and the Trust is right behind an initiative launched by Jenny Haydon to co-ordinate a Blueskin Working Breaksfast (8.30, Friday the 15th of October) at the Blueskin Bay Café. RSVP to Jenny on 4821409. In parallel and in order to become more effective in delivering strong community outcomes BRCT is working on an Angel Volunteer programme, aiming, among other things, to put value on all the volunteer activity within (and eventually beyond) the BRCT sphere.
WEP is BRCT’s main project (see below), however the Trust also supports the Waitati Edible Gardens group in two of their initiatives, Waitati Open Orchards and Blueskin Bay Area School Edible Gardens.
The BRCT office is housed in the Old Waitati Store, thanks to the generosity of Mark and Rayna Dickson, and provides umbrella support for community initiatives seeking to build stronger, more sustainable Blueskin communities (as above). Since the inception of BRCT in 2008 a number of very successful projects have been completed in Blueskin Bay, most notably perhaps the Waitati Energy Project Retrofit Programme in 2009. That was thanks to the considerable time and enthusiasm put in by 2008 – 2010 Trustees (Mark Dickson, Geraldine Tait, Chris Young – and myself at that point) and Officer Antony Deaker. BRCT has now entered a new phase, working directly to support Blueskin Power, the Waitati Energy Project renewable generation initiative. I’m now solely concerned with Management, while Governance is assured by the new Trustees and Officer. The BRCT office will continue to work productively with other groups and initiatives while maintaining its focus on the Waitati Energy Project.
More information on the Trust’s vision, mission, objectives and activities is available on the Transition Waitati webpage: www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati or by contacting me on 03 4822048.