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This is how we're responding in Timaru.

A new focus on climate change in long term planning

The Timaru District Council's draft Long Term Plan (LTP) is consulting on the level of resourcing it should devote to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The preferred option allows sufficient funding to make some progress in the area of climate change.

This would include the development of a Climate Change Strategy within the first three years of the LTP, focusing on:

  • Adaptation: investing in research to better understand the climate change risks to Council’s services and infrastructure, and planning for how Council can respond to these risks.
  • Mitigation: establishing Council’s carbon footprint, and beginning work to reduce emissions from the services it provides the community. This option would also provide for community engagement, working across the district with communities and businesses to lead and support climate change resilience efforts, as well as provide Council with enough resource to meet new legislative reporting requirements.
  • Better planning and building: New coastal modelling is enabling Council to make better long term decisions on where and how we build in the district. A major coastal hazard assessment was undertaken following significant erosion of a popular reserve, which has provided clear picture of the coastal inundation risks from rising sea levels.
  • Securing our water supplies: The district’s main drinking water supplies come from local rivers, and with increasing frequency of extreme weather events these are subject to higher levels of turbidity (silt) which make it more difficult to treat. As part of Council's future investment it's looking at filter options which will help continue the supply of high quality water on high turbidity days
  • Reducing landfill emissions: Timaru District was the first council in New Zealand to adopt the three bin system of separated rubbish, recycling and green waste. In the years since it launched, the system has converted household food and garden waste into compost, significantly reducing the amount of methane-creating organics entering our landfill.
  • LED Lighting: Timaru District has now replaced all its street lighting with new LED lighting. The new units are more energy efficient and have a significantly longer life.