Monday, 21 June 2010

Submission to Boroondara Council on Cycling opportunities for East West link in Boroondara

Further to my address at the Services Special Committee Meeting (Boroondara) on Monday 21 June, the Lighter Footprints group strongly supports the creation of safe East-West cycling routes in Boroondara.

Lighter Footprints suggests that:

  • Council raise the priority of developing a safe East West route (or routes) in light of the significant local demand for safe cycling in Boroondara along this direction.
  • Sections of a safe East West route would be used by families, school and university students and children for both local and transit bicycle and pedestrian trips.
  • Many busy local shopping centres and precincts such as Maling Road, Union Road, Camberwell Junction and Glenferrie Road could all be connected by such a route.
  • The use of the Box Hill railway line easement from the Yarra River to Surrey Hills station be noted by Council for possible cycle route development in a revision of the Boroondara Bicycle Strategy.
  • Council recommend to the Victorian Government Department of Transport and Minister for Roads & Ports and Major Projects Tim Pallas that a study be urgently undertaken to assess East West route options for safe cycling along the Box Hill railway line easement through Hawthorn, Camberwell and Canterbury and adjacent arterial roads such as Burwood Road, Rathmines/Canterbury Road and Riversdale Road.
  • The scope or East West cyling routes not be limited to a single route.  For example, safe cycling lanes (e.g. Copenhagen lanes) along Burwood Road Hawthorn could be supplemented with off road routes along sections of the railway line easement.
  • Several thousands of cyclists could eventually use a safe East-West route daily, with a commensurate decrease in car usage, road congestion and carbon emissions.

The Boroondara Sustainability Network and the Boroondara Bicycle User Group also strongly support development of a safe East-West cycle route through central Boroondara.

Please note that the latest draft Principle Bicycle Network plan recently circulated by VicRoads to Councils for comment shows a priority bicycle route marked along Burwood Road Hawthorn. This a major concern as this road is currently unsafe for bicycles.

Some more information on route options:

Peter Campbell, on behalf of Lighter Footprints

Submission to Boroondara Council on GHG targets and strategies

Further to my address at the Services Special Committee Meeting (Boroondara) on Monday 21 June, the Lighter Footprints group strongly supports Boroondara's  "Our Low Carbon Future" (July 2009)  strategy document.

We support the statement that "Council has committed to stepping up its action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" ( Intro para., page 1) .

Lighter Footprints suggests that:

  • To achieve the "Low Carbon Future" target of 30 - 40% reduction in GHG's by 2020 (Corporate target) , the Council needs to set a Performance target of  3 to 4% reduction each Budget over the 10 years from 2010 to 2020.    (reference page 65 of SSC Agenda 21 June 2010,  and also p.29 of DRAFT Budget 2010-11).
  • Council consider engagement of a consultant to do an extensive energy audit of all Council facilities and one who can work collaboratively with Council stakeholders to develop the required 'Performance target' roadmap. (for example consultants with expertise in Energy Efficiencies Opportunities for major businesses - Federal legislation)
  • Council accelerate its "Buildings Sustainability" program in 2010-11, by adopting specific measures (such as 6-star standards) to provide assets that will be assets rather than legacies, in a  'low carbon', 'low rainfall' future.
  • Council adopt a fiscal approach whereby the additional 10% building cost is seen as an investment. An investment that ensures Council assets will be cheaper to operate for the next 25 years. The 10% capital cost for 6-star assets could be covered by phasing of cashflow in budget cashflow terms of one building 6 months later. For example, Hawthorn Library, Hawthorn Town Hall Arts Precinct and Camberwell Library & Office projects will cost $ order to achieve 6-star with 10% on-cost of $1.2 million, one building would be delayed 6 months.

The GHG target be achieved by  a strategic & systematic approach to :

  • Energy efficiency of buildings, particularly for new and re-development  capital projects ;   
  • roll-out of Cogen projects; 
  • modernize HVAC (heating, ventilating, air-conditioning),  
  • Procurement Policies e.g. Vehicles with low emission (including diesel), bikes, etc;
  •  Eco-buy procurement forum;  
  • T5 street lighting; Behavioural awareness training of all employees; 
  • carbon-storage in form of trees and soil, other generated from comprehensive energy audit.

Michael Nolan, on behalf of Lighter Footprints

Sunday, 20 June 2010

CLIMATE FORUM - meet your Kooyong and Senate candidates July 28

What: “Meet the candidates” Community Climate Forum for the Federal election 2010 
When: Wednesday 28 July @ 7.00pm
Where: Chandelier room, Hawthorn town hall, 360 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn
Who: Candidates for Kooyong and a senator from each major party
Entry: $5 donation. 

Age journalist Liz Minchin, a Walkely award winner and co-author of a book on climate change Screw Light Bulbs, will run a Q&A session that will put climate change policies of the major parties under the microscope and allow the public and candidates to quiz one another. This should prove both entertaining and illuminating and we are very pleased to have her services..

The battle for the senate is crucial for passing climate change legislation so we are particularly pleased to have the senate candidates who will be fighting it out for Victorian senate positions in attendance.

Please put this date in your diary and come with friends and neighbours to demonstrate that this electorate does care strongly about climate change and that we want real action.

The Kooyong candidates attending are:

  • Josh Frydenberg (Liberal)
  • Steve Hurd (ALP)
  • Des Benson (Greens)
The three senate candidates attending are: 
  • Richard Di Natale (Greens).
  • Antony Thow (ALP)
  • Scott Ryan (Liberal) 

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Risks of carbon-based economy

"Continued reliance on oil is risky and expensive for business, say the authors of a new report from Lloyd's global risk assessment department, 360 Risk Insight, and UK think tank Chatham House.
The way forward for businesses, the report says, is renewable energy - but the chaos and uncertainty following the Copenhagen climate summit has stifled investment."
Read the rest of this report from the New Scientist's Short Sharp Science series.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Ready to try doorknocking on climate change?

Lighter Footprints is organising a Doorknocking Day in Boroondara this Sunday 6th June from 2-5pm.

This is an easy and fun way to talk to people in your community about climate change and the opportunities for action.

We will also be promoting our upcoming Meet the Candidates forum at the Hawthorn Town Hall on 28th July (facilitated by Age journalist and author Liz Minchin).

It’s easy! We will be doing it in pairs, you will get a script to help avoid being tongue-tied at the door, you will be provided with materials (brochure/petition), and we will have a short ‘training session’ before you set off. Climate Code Red author and climate campaigner David Spratt will be available to provide some door knocking tips and training to the Lighter Footprints group before we hit the streets.

How it works: We start after lunch and do about an half an hour of training. Then we all get a map with an area to cover, we knock on doors for about two hours and then get together for a coffee or drink and talk about how it went. It's that easy! People are friendly and usually very happy to take some information.

Where we start: We meet at 70 Through Road, Camberwell at 2pm for the training session this Sunday 6th June and to pick up materials (brochures etc). Meet back there again at 4.30-4.45pm for a drink and debrief!

Please RSVP to Fiona Armstrong, 0438 900 005, or

Next doorknocking date: Saturday 19th of June from 2-5pm.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Ethanol Without The Guilt? Nation's First 'Trashanol' Plant Opens In Iowa

Excerpt from this Care2 blog post:
"In a converted corn ethanol plant 25 minutes from Cedar Rapids, four-story tanks of renewable fuel are quietly bubbling away ready for conversion into fuel-grade ethanol. What makes this batch of fuel special is its main ingredient: instead of corn, Fiberight LLC is producing fuel-grade ethanol from International Paper's recycling process organic waste.

Five or six years ago, ethanol was one of the most popular biofuels on the block. But recently, many had given up hope that ethanol could ever become a sustainable, affordable, and accessible gas-alternative, until a Maryland based company found a way to turn one company's organic waste into valuable renewable fuel."

Read the rest of the story at Care2 Global warming channel. Any chance of a Visy initiative along these lines?