Have a hand in the Shire’s future
Posted on 28 February 2013 by e-news
We’re still as keen as ever to hear from you, our members and readers, so please send us your contributions by 11am on Thursday, 14 March. That’s when our next e-news will be published. Contributions by 11am
If you’ve noticed, the e-news publication day has now changed to Thursdays, owing to our staff availability.
This week, in a jam-packed edition, we’re letting you know that you have a great opportunity to influence the environmental course of the shire over the next four years; we say see you later to two of our longstandingest and most committed workers; and the news on coal just gets worse and worse.
Urgently seeking volunteers. We need you for the Wash Against Waste Trailer at Taradale, Sunday, 10 March and at the State Festival on Sunday, 24 March at Victory Park. Washing at the trailer ids fun! Can you help? Please contact Kerry and thanks in anticipation.
Our chance to influence the next four years
Council is seeking input from its citizens to help develop the Council Plan that will guide its decisions for the next four years. We’re encouraging MASG members and supporters to get involved and contribute your views in one or more of the following ways:
Thursday 28 February (tonight) at 7pm at the Castlemaine Market Building
Drop by an information booth, Monday 25 February to Friday 1 March 10am-12 noon at the Castlemaine Library
Sunday 3 March 9am-1pm, Council’s market stall at the Castlemaine Farmers Market
MASG will put in a formal submission focusing on the urgent need to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as the social, economic and cultural conditions for the Shire to face current and future challenges. Our submission will include practical examples of what Council can do, which does not appear to a part of this consultation.
Council has developed four goals in this planning process. Please feel free to use these and our additional statement to help you respond, and let us know your own ideas so that we can improve our submission.
Goal 1 – a vibrant, healthy community
MASG’s thoughts: Our community will be vibrant and healthy when:
- Reliance on cars is reduced and people are able to walk, ride, pram and wheelchair easily throughout the towns of our shire.
- The shopping centres and streets encourage people of all ages to linger and chat
- There are other places which bring people together in informal ways, such as dog parks, swimming pools, gyms, passive spaces, cultural spaces
- There are formal celebrations and events that bring people together
- Council acts in the most transparent and accountable way and keeps its citizens informed and involved in its decision making.
- Reconciliation is promoted through ceremony and engagement with local elders that will lead to practical action
Goal 2 – Better community services and facilities
MASG thoughts: we will have better community services and facilities when:
- Organisations such as Castlemaine Community House and U3A and other community organisations can find a home base that recognises their role and contribution to the strength of the community
- Community facilities and services are governed fairly and accessibly in cost, availability and physical access, to all in the Shire
- Our youth have safe places to gather
- Community facilities are energy efficient and generate their own power
- When Council budgets make a connection between economic, environmental and social costs and benefits
- Council’s activities in roads rates and rubbish are costed for their energy use, their impact on landfill (and dumping in the environment) and contribution to greenhouse gases
Goal 3 – a thriving local economy
MASG’s thoughts: We will have a thriving local economy when:
- Council understands the impact climate change will have on our economy and its own rate base, and tells its citizens the likely impacts
- We maximise the business potential of our waste, through organic waste to soil, or waste to energy, or timber and other recycling
- We make far better use of our natural beauty and thousands of years of history, combined with better walking and wheeling paths, to bring visitors here.
- We make as much use of local resources in the shire as possible, keeping money spent within our community
- We understand how the NBN will help our businesses
- We understand the developments in the new economy and position ourselves within that, especially in relation to renewable energy and services
- Our own citizens are more confident about developing social enterprises
- Our shopping centres and traffic management regimes are planned to encourage small businesses to thrive, and people to move around and in them rather than be overshadowed by new shopping malls
- Ensure our celebrated artistic community is able to thrive and continue to contribute to our economy
- All services and shops are accessible to people with disabilities
Goal 4 – working towards sustainability
MASG’s thoughts: we want to be sustainable, not just working towards sustainability! We will be sustainable when:
- Our planning scheme is used to ensure that new houses are not energy guzzlers and encourages sustainable design and energy use
- We use our solar, wind and waste resources to generate more energy, particularly in Council-owned premises. Council shows leadership in reducing its own energy use and generating its own energy and tells the story of how economic it is to do this
- Much of the food we use is grown locally, and Council helps this to happen through its planning schemes, its own purchasing and through enabling community gardens and garden programs that are adapted to arid/flood conditions
- Council is an active partner and contributor, through urban planning, local laws, weed control and funding, to the way our country is cared for along with Landcare groups, Connecting Country, catchment and water authorities and Native Title holders.
- Our planning system supports the retention of high biodiversity areas and arable land for agriculture
MASG will ask how Council:
- will prioritise the input it receives
- will inform and involve its citizens in the next stage of the Plan
- how it will regularly account to the community for how it is achieving these goals
The Hub Plot jottings
The garden will appreciate this rain. Our late summer seed plantings are up under their hessian protection so hopefully with this rain coupled with the warm weather we will be set for some late autumn and early winter crops.
- Some of us have been out and about selling our Planting Guide.
- On Sunday we hosted a Community Apple Juicing. Lots of people turned up to turn freshly harvested apples into juice.
- We are gradually adding some more signs to the garden – this week the worm farm sign go up.
- Thanks to Mark who did the artwork and to Daryl who’s been restoring the old window frames for them.
We are planning some inspiring workshops to prepare you for the seasons ahead. The first of these will be held on 13 April.
Saturday 13 April at The Hub Plot: Garden Round Robin
Workshops on the day will include:
- composting and worm farms
- seed sowing with biodynamic principles
- seed saving for cooking and gardening
- biochar: ancient soil technology redeveloped for the future
- wicking beds
- chook care
There’ll be a light seasonal lunch and children’s activities.
For further information please phone Heather on 0409 327 791 or Kat 0401 859 750, or go to http://thehubplot.tumblr.com/
We’ll post further information as it becomes available.
US CO2 emissions fall to lowest levels since 1994
America’s carbon dioxide emissions last year fell to their lowest levels since 1994, according to a new report. Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 13% in the past five years, because of new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy. Read the full story
A Chinese carbon tax
China has announced it will establish a carbon tax. The announcement included taxing coal based on prices instead of sales volume, as well as raising coal taxes.
There was no announcement on timings and it’s not clear how a carbon tax will fit with the seven cap and trade schemes due to be introduced in 2014. Read the full story
Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks
Regressive billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120m to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change.
Japan to build world’s largest offshore wind farm
Construction starts this July on a 1-gigawatt wind farm off the coast of Fukushima, as the nation moves another step away from its nuclear dependence. Read the full story
“The Eyes of the Future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.”
Terry Tempest Williams, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert