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Council Wants City To Be World Leader

The City Council wants Christchurch to become an international leader in sustainability and become a showcase of a good place to live with clear business, social and community benefits.

Yesterday the Strategy and Resources Committee decided to commit the council to a process to build a sustainable Christchurch and the Council's Director of Finance, Bob Lineham, was directed to investigate the potential to establish a "catalyst fund" for a sustainable Christchurch.

The moves followed a report by a City Council Solid Waste Engineer, Eric Park, who said the city should have an action plan to make Christchurch "one of the world's leading sustainable cities, socially, environmentally and economically, using holistic new paradigms."

There was huge potential for significant advances to be made to improving the sustainability and restorative capacity of Council operations and other city activities "by applying some focus to the task," Mr Park said. Resources that entered the Christchurch economy were valued at $610 million worth of energy, $100 million work of packaging, and $10 million worth of water a year.

"Inefficiencies in the economy cause the city to waste $35 million annually to discard unwanted production, solid and liquid waste," Mr Park said.

"This waste cost excludes the liability generated by discharge of two million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the value of the resources being discarded and the cost to individuals and businesses of managing and transporting those discarded resources," he said.

It was apparent that reducing the city's energy use by only 3 per cent would save the city $17.5 million a year. A 50 per cent reduction in landfilll and wastewater treatment costs would be required to achieve the same level of dollar savings, he said.

That ignored capital development and expansion costs for both treatment systems, Mr Park said.

The City Council itself had made savings, he said. Since 1993 more than $8 million had been saved in energy costs and savings were running now at $2 million a year. Council agendas were printed on recycled paper, water had been conserved, kerbside recycling had been introduced and the Recovered Materials Foundation had been established.

Mr Park said the Council had already taken steps to get its own house in order. A team was set up to bring improved sustainability initiatives and a group established to move ideas forward.

The chairwoman of the Environment Committee, Cr. Anna Crighton, told the committee that some European cities were ahead of Christchurch in terms of sustainability. She said Christchurch should get tough on environmental indicators. The chairman of the City Services Committee, Cr. Denis O'Rourke, said the Council was now identifying the "real things" which could be tackled. "This is about getting in there and doing it," he said.


The matter will be on the Council agenda at its August 24 meeting for further discussion.

Ends

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