by Chris Tobin
Strategic thinking and infrastructure planning are needed to deal with climate change, Waimate District Council’s chief executive Stuart Duncan says.
Last Tuesday’s council meeting considered a report from Mr Duncan which stated change had to be made to anticipate “future environs” – storms, flood, fire, coastal erosion, sea-level rise, temperature changes and storm surges.
“Local government’s key challenge is to determine how far our obligation extends and where the responsibility shifts to regional council and central government, for example.
“There is no question that we all need to work together if we are to make a positive difference, as does all humanity.
“We believe there is more value in actions rather than words and this has been the focus of council for some time when making decisions.”
“But if we do not heavily invest in high-level co-ordination of these climate change areas of responsibility, hundreds of millions of dollars will be wasted.
“Climate change mitigation and adaptation opportunities are everywhere and we will consider climate change opportunities in every decision we make.”
The council had already decided not to sign the Local Government Climate Change Declaration, which requested central government to work with local government in mitigating the effects of climate change.
In deciding not to sign, the council stated in a media release:
“Council have also considered the actions of other councils who have declared climate emergencies. However, we see little value in signing up to agreements with no clear objectives and goals.
“We believe there is more value in actions rather than words and this has been the focus of council for some time when making decisions.
“We agree that we are seeing more adverse weather events and major variations in the climate. We have data that supports this, particularly in the roading area, as we are experiencing more intense weather events.
“Council will be carefully considering the Zero Carbon Bill and the implications for the Waimate district. We recognise that the Waimate district is built on the back of the agriculture sector. Therefore, the right type of conversation must take place for the future of the district.”