October 2014

At our last Trust meeting we welcomed Jacinta Ruru onto the Trust. Jacinta is a Purakaunui resident and is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago. Her strong interest in issues relating to landscape and identity, coastal environments (including spatial planning and offshore mining) complements the BRCT board and aligns well with BRCT values, and we are delighted to have Jacinta on our growing team to maintain momentum on community projects.

The 2014 Otago Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards are coming up in early November. The Trust received a surprise nomination from an unknown third party, and has been shortlisted as a finalist in two categories (‘Not for Profit’ and ‘Sustainability’). When we were looking over what successes we’ve had over the past two years (as requested by the judging committee), it became clear that recognition deserves to be widely shared, as BRCT initiatives are a result of strong community participation.

Our small office continues to generate electricity and interest, and we ourselves continue to be fascinated by how well the variable solar generation profile matches our consumption profile. We are busy at work in the office during the day, with the solar panels doing their work. At the time of writing we’re looking forward to an upcoming ‘enviroFriday’ visit from Waitati School children, who are looking at solar and renewable electricity generation.

Electric Bike Wkshp1The electric bike workshop on the 18th of October was well attended and a great success, and our thanks to Neville Auton whose presentation demystified electric bikes, explained electric motive power systems, and looked at different battery features. Thanks to Jen Rodgers for all the work on this event and to all the electric bike owners who brought their bikes along for the ‘show and tell’, as well as Kashi from Bike Otago. Who knew there were so many electric bikes already out there? We are collecting names and contact details from people interested in a possible trial of electric bikes, and 15 people have already signed up as interested. Please get in touch if you are interested or want to hear more. Keep an eye out for future workshops as we have more in the pipeline.

We’ve been concentrating on improving the structure and foundations of our Community Energy Advice programme this past month, which involves a lot of backroom work, but also further training. We’ve been pleased to support 6 people through the Level 1 Home Energy Awareness course (3 of whom were supported in partnership with the North East Valley Project), and are supporting a further 3 to complete the full Level 2 Home Performance Advisor training at the end of October (2 in conjunction with the NEV Project). We anticipate that by the end of the year we will have more than doubled the number of trained Home Performance Advisors providing Home Performance Assessments, and will have a strong service up in running well in advance of the 2015 winter.

Work continues on the Blueskin Food System project, and we are been excited to see new initiatives emerging in Blueskin. Plenty is happening in the wind development, as discussed in the BEP column, and in late November we’re looking forward to hosting the Dept. of Internal Affairs and showing them around our place. Don’t forget to check out the ‘Cuppa Tea’ and contribute your thoughts.

If you would like to find out more about any project or anything else that we do at BRCT then please call in to see us (we are in the old dental clinic at Waitati School), call us on 4822 048, email us or just check out this website.