Archive for October, 2011

Our submission on the Auckland Plan

October 28th, 2011

We would firstly like to congratulate the Auckland council on producing such an encouraging and well-written draft Auckland plan. We strongly support the mayor’s vision of creating the most liveable city by acknowledging the current problems our city is facing and embracing new and positive approaches that are beneficial for both the people and the environment.

In general we would like to see Auckland as a place that acknowledges its diversity and different communities rather than seeing Auckland as one big uniform place. We support the vision of creating a stunning city centre with well-connected towns, villages and neighbourhoods with an improved public transport.

We would like to see more support for active community groups that encourage community members to change their habits and practices from one based on the old unsustainable model of living, designed around unlimited access to cheap oil, cheap imports and consumerism to a new sustainable model of living, which encourages recycling, local food production and the careful use of the planet’s natural resources.

We would like joint projects between council and community groups to have more transparency. To make the best use of ratepayers’ dollars, we would like community groups to be able to get quotes from independent contractors and not have to use council’s contractors. This healthy competition will ensure best value for money, guarantee community involvement as well as reducing the perception of “jobs for the boys”..

Download our submission

Chapter one: – Population growth:

We are concerned by the intention to grow our city before we have systems in place that can cope with a larger population. We would first like to see Auckland as a functioning city that offers systems and structures that can deal with a population increase.

We currently see our city as a place that has not sufficient pubic transport for the existing population. We are concerned by the impact on our environment this suggested increased population will bring. The lack of recycling centres/options and regulations is a problem that needs to be rectified before we start creating more waste .

Recommendations:

Chapter 1
We support the strategic directions outlined in chapter one, specifically the support of community-led development. We see this as an opportunity to build strong and resilient communities which we believe are especially important in a time of global economic instability and uncertainty.

In order to achieve this we would like to see a framework to recognise, fund and support community generated initiatives and community groups that are working on projects to promote a less fossil-fuel driven lifestyle with the focus on local food production.

We would like to see an improvement in communication with council officers and ask for council officers to be more amenable to the idea and reality of working with community groups. More transparency is needed for projects to be done more economically and efficiently. Community groups should not be seen as fundraisers to generate income for council officers to spend.

Community groups are a valuable asset to our city. They deliver quality work and should not be treated as cheap or free labour. These are exactly the people who will shape, design and implement a liveable Auckland – a city for people, not profit margins.

Recommendation:

•    To get the most value for raised funds, let community groups choose the best contactor to work with for their project. A transparent selection process is absolutely necessary to choose from contractors suggested by council, private sector contractors or members of the community group.

•    Community groups should be able to choose a preferred council officer for their community projects, someone who has a proven track record for positive contribution and work with community groups.

•    Making community contribution easy and fun instead of difficult and a burden. Once an officer has agreed to work on a specific project with a group, this officer will be in communication and be accountable to the group. Email correspondence will be followed up or at least acknowledged..

•    Projects to be a collaborative effort with a clear time line, division of responsibilities and updates sent to the group if requested.

•    A framework with guidelines is needed to bring both community groups and council officers together to achieve the best possible outcome for a community project.

•    After the completion of a community project we would like to see a feedback form that will enable council officers to improve their service.

Chapter 3, Integrate art, culture, heritage and lifestyle into our everyday life
We are in favour of a city that embraces art, culture as well as our heritage. We want a plan that recognises enjoyment and quality of life and adds to the value of our city and communities.

Recommendation:
We would like to see more community centres and public spaces in our city, that can be used for arts and cultural events and create a platform for the community to meet and engage.

Chapter 4, Auckland economy
We have to make sure that our economy delivers opportunity and prosperity AS WELL AS protecting our quality of life and our environment. We want an economy that is sustainable and encourages new greener ways of doing business. We do not believe that we should try to compete with a cheap mass production that countries like china can offer and we would like to see a focus on quality instead of quantity.

With the increasing instability of the global economy which depends on economic growth for its survival, we would like to see a more sustainable approach which means acting AND thinking locally. We need to support our smaller local businesses that can operate on a smaller scale and create sustainable local jobs. With the end of cheap oil we need to start producing and buyjng locally.

Recommendations:
•    A more “internally focused” society and economy, where domestic food, shelter and energy production are prioritised above export and import.
•    Plant fruit trees for the public
•    Focus on clean technology and the approach in sustainable eco technology is the right direction.
•    Products made in New Zealand should stand for free range, GE free, organic products, proudly made by healthy people. Perhaps Auckland could be GE free or we could have a “Produced GE Free in Auckland” or “Organic Auckland” certification.
•    Economic regeneration and social enterprise
•    Localisation as economic development
•    Community Asset ownership, social procurement and local tendering
•    Think local,act local, support small businesses in communities
•    Support New Zealand made products
•    Support farmers’ and craft markets that are beneficial and create vibrant communities.
•    Support communities that come up with innovative solutions to problems such as waste. Example: Waste minimisation program from the Mt Eden Village People which engages a third of the local shops to minimise waste going to land fill. Wilson Street Community Garden and Mt Eden Community Garden that offers free composting facilities to the community.

Chapter 5, Auckland environment:
We strongly support the acknowledgement that people and nature are inseparable and that we have to take care of our precious environment. Stronger rules and regulations need to be put into place to make sure we can protect our environment for future generations and create the world’s most liveable city. We would like to see the following actions included in the Auckland waste minimisation plan:

Waste minimisation and management
•    Introduce a tax on plastic bags, as in Ireland, to reduce the use of plastic bags
•    Reintroduce a refund on bottles as in most European countries and in South Australia
•    Introduce a fine for littering such as in Australia, England, Singapore, USA
•    Strict rules and regulations for the packaging industry with the focus on reducing packaging or replacing it with biodegradable and compostable products
•    Collect food waste
•    Set up local recycling centres and local recycling initiatives
•    Zero waste policy for all council events
•    Printing of council brochures on recycled paper.
•    Offer subsidised worm farms to households
•    Declare Auckland streets smoke free – stop cigarette butts ending up on our streets going into the sea, killing wildlife and polluting our waters.
•    Install and maintain filters to stormwater run-offs to eliminate litter going into the sea.
•    Communicate our vision and commitment to the environment with new immigrants.
•    Support for local waste minimisation projects such as local composting facilities
•    Support for community led waste minimisation projects such as the zero waste initiative we have been working on with our local shops since 2006
•    Support and accreditation for businesses that recycle, minimise carbon emissions and waste.
•    Localising and owning our transfer stations, establishment of local resource recovery centres.
•    Provide a central repository for local waste information and concerns that offers research in ways to reuse and recycle those materials.

Clean air
•    Subsidise electric cars, photovoltaic cells and other alternatives to fossil fuel
•    Introduce a more stringent emissions tests on cars, trucks and BUSSES.
•    Plan for an immediate reduction to vehicles on the road – 44% of Auckland’s emissions are from transport.
•    Provide a clear and detailed plan for CO2 reducing emissions to achieve targets.
Water
•    Subsidise sustainable home water supply systems such as water tanks, filtration systems, pumps and piping etc. Water should not be seen as a commodity.

Chapter 6, Auckland’s response to climate change
We support the direction setting in chapter 6 to tackle climate change issues and increase energy resilience. Auckland as the New Zealand’s largest city has a responsibility to the nation to develop clear strategies to mitigate and adapt affects of climate change. We strongly support the priority of protecting Auckland’s natural environment and working together with communities on a small scale.
Recommendations:
•    Protect existing trees to reduce atmospheric CO2.
•    Plant trees to reduce atmospheric CO2.
•    Give local Boards the power to decide on local issues (such as a proposed removal of a  Pohutukawa tree in Poronui street).
•    Focus on local food production, community fruit trees and community gardens in the city.
•    Encourage and support organic farming and biodiversity – reduced food miles
Reduce the use of fossil fuel, support and subsidise alternatives to fossil fuel use.
•    Focus on building sustainable communities which include small shops in walkable distance.
•    Support renewable energy.
•    Focus on public transport, improve public transport and make cycling safe.

Kind regards

Judith Holtebrinck, Sara Rishworth, Gail Batten,
MEVP Steering committee

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A Celebration of Community -27.11.2011 Mt Eden Village

October 28th, 2011

Please join us on Sunday 27th November 2011 from 2pm to 4pm to celebrate our progress with becoming a sustainable Mt Eden.  Hosted at the wonderful Community Gardens at the end of Poronui Street near the bowling grounds, come along with your family, friend and neighbours and get to know your community.

Thanks for the generous support of a Lottery Grant, Old MacDonald Farm will be there with some happy farm animals and a pony ride.  Other activities for kids include a workshop to help you learn to move like the animals, creating some recycled art and the good old favourites of seed planting and face painting.  And adults are also catered for with our version of the Amazing Race and compost workshop, a fantastic raffle with prices from local shops and businesses in Mt Eden. You get the chance to talk to experienced gardeners about your own food production in the city whilst enjoying nibbles from the Essential Deli.

Money raised on the day will go towards our project to provide 1000 community fruits tress in Auckland in 2012.

Find out more at www.mountedenvillagepeople.co.nz
Our raincheck day is 4 December 2011.

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Fruit tree pruning workshop – shared results

October 25th, 2011

This approximately 4 year old Macadamia tree was pruned by workshop tutor Ken during the recent MEVP pruning workshop. Cutting out the central leader was probably perceived as totally butchering the tree not just by its gasping owners but by every single participant of the workshop.

3 month later, the tree shows extraordinary signs of health and vigour with its first ever catkins everywhere and in particular inside the now light-penetrated crown.

If one has ever hesitated to prune out the central leader – here is the evidence, it is working well in favour of the tree and the nut saviours of the future.

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MEVP community celebration meeting, 25th of October

October 19th, 2011

It is nearly the end of the year and the 27th of November is our yearly community get-together, celebrating our path to a sustainable Mt Eden. This year we are inviting the old McDonald farm with ducks, chickens, goats, a pony and a kitten to join our celebration at the community garden.

If there is anything you can contribute such as creating activities and/or games for kids and adults where they can learn about sustainability, recycling, gardening etc… please let us know.  It would be great if you can join us at our community celebration preparation meeting on the 25th of October from7-8pm at the Mt Eden Village Centre, Methodist church building across Circus Circus.

Activities we had last year included face painting, seedling planting, raffle tickets and the sales of gardening tools to raise money for more community fruit trees, a compost game for the kids and a community exercise to get to know each other and talk about your sustainable vision of your neighbourhood.

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Square Foot Gardening workshop, 16.10.2011

October 1st, 2011

Square Foot Gardening with Ken Clark from Waiheke

Ken first learnt about Square Foot Gardening about 22 years ago. He proceeded to do it his own way for 17 years, 35ears ago he retired to Waiheke Island & started SFG in earnest.

Ken lives on a small size section and produces an abundance of fruit and veges using the Square Foot Gardening method. SFG advocates growing only what you need on a weekly basis. It is a fantastic system for busy people who wish to have a more sustainable life and great home grown food with the minimum fuss and effort. The workshops cover everything from seeds to eating and building a Square Foot Garden.

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Master gardener program spring 2011

October 1st, 2011

Master gardener program spring 2011 at the CCS Disability Action Community Gardens

The course is taught by a stunning line-up of New Zealand’s organic gardening experts and will show you how to create your own successful organic garden and contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly urban environment.

The next course starts on Saturday 1 October and is held weekly 9:30-12:30 until 10 December for 10 weeks at CCS Disability Action at 14 Erson Avenue in Royal Oak. Contact: Scott Thiemann Scott.Thiemann@ccsdisabilityaction.org.nz

Basic topics covered include getting started and garden design using permaculture principles, soil health and how to maintain it by using various garden techniques, introductory botany, herb cultivation, composting, worm farming, growing fruit trees suited for our region successfully, managing pests and diseases by various organically safe methods, successfully saving seeds, creating food forests, and tools that make it easy.  PLUS a couple of field trips to well-established gardens organised by some of the most knowledgeable people in the field.  PLUS many opportunities to practice the art right here in our own gardens.  PLUS multiple plant starts and seeds to take home.  There’s more?  YES, plus the opportunity to learn all of this in the comraderie of others of similar mind.

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Be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi