Community

Yarra Ranges Council declares a Climate Emergency!!


Photo by Michael Nardella

We are very excited to bring you the great news that on Tuesday, 10 September 2019, the Yarra Ranges Council voted 5 votes to 3 to declare a Climate Emergency. The public gallery was overflowing with supporters of the motion, including children, and there was much excitement and jubilation once the vote was taken!

Learn more on the international movement to declare a Climate Emergency

In making this Climate Emergency Declaration Council is declaring that we cannot engage in ‘business as usual’ if we are to seriously tackle the Climate Emergency. Council is saying, we need a society wide mobilization that takes very seriously the danger now facing our planet and all life on the planet.

The Yarra Ranges Council is taking leadership in making this Declaration. It is sending a very strong and unequivocal message to the community and to governments that we need urgent, collective action across all levels of government and the community. There is no time to waste! We must act NOW!

Cr Mike Clarke’s Motion: A Climate Emergency Framework!

In fact, Cr Mike Clarke’s motion went further than declaring a Climate Emergency. His motion created a Climate Emergency Framework which will enable a Whole of Council approach to the Climate Emergency, as well as also enabling greater collaboration between Council staff and the community in developing carbon abatement projects and activities.

This Whole of Council approach and greater collaboration between the Community and Council is what Healesville CoRE has been advocating for the past two years.

Read Cr Mike Clarke’s amended motion

The Healesville CoRE Role in Facilitating this Outcome!

The Healesville CoRE team is really pleased to have played a prominent role in facilitating this outcome. Our President, Jeff Barlow, is a Community Member of the Yarra Ranges Environment Advisory Committee (YREAC), which is a Council appointed group to advise Council on environmental issues. Jeff brought a motion to YREAC in June this year, which YREAC supported unanimously, to request that Council signs the Climate Emergency Declaration. This was supported by a letter from Healesville CoRE and a further supportive motion, which Jeff organized, from a meeting of the Yarra Valley Community for Climate Action, both with unanimous support.

Cr Mike Clarke, who is the Chair of YREAC, then formulated his motion on the basis of the support of YREAC, as well as the support of other community groups and individuals writing to Council.

A community group asked Jeff Barlow to speak in favour of the motion at the Council meeting which he did, and young kids from the community, who were present, stood behind Jeff, facing the Council, as he made his presentation to Council. It was an historic and very moving occasion.

Read Jeff Barlow’s community presentation to Council here

Practical Implications!

It is a real pity that the motion did not ask Council to sign the Climate Emergency Declaration, which would have had significant symbolic meaning, rather than simply declaring a Climate Emergency! However, the motion as passed, will have significant practical implications. Already plans are being discussed for the next steps in creating greater community/Council involvement in carbon abatement. More about this when we have something more concrete to announce.

Congratulations to Council!

Healesville CoRE would like to congratulate Cr Mike Clarke for bringing the motion to Council and for all the work he did behind the scenes to enable the motion to be passed. We would also like to thank our Councillors, who voted in favour of the motion, for their courage and wisdom in putting other concerns aside so they could focus on the big picture. They decided to move away from rubbish, roads and rates and away from bureaucratic concerns, to embrace the bigger picture of Global Warming, and to address the serious implications for the planet if temperature increases are not kept below 1.5 degrees. It is courageous leaders like these that the world needs – Federal politicians please take notice!!

Congratulations to our Community Who Lobbied for Change!

Healesville CoRE would also like to thank all those community members who signed petitions, attended meetings, voted for motions, wrote to individual councillors, and who spoke up for the Climate Emergency Declaration! It takes a community to get the action we need.

In our view, the Yarra Ranges community can be justly proud of the Council’s decision. When taken together with the work Council has been doing on renewable energy for Council buildings over the past 10 years and all the tree planting to store carbon, that has occurred, we can see a good start has been made to an ongoing process of broader community and Council action that will need to be mobilized. We think we are up for the challenge! Would you like to be involved too?

If you would like to support us in our ongoing work for the community please get in touch, become a financial member of Healesville CoRE or make a donation. Any or all of these would be very much appreciated. And remember to write to Council to congratulate them on this historic decision!

Read the Mail Newspaper article

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Yarra Ranges Council Feasibility Study on Building Solar Farms in Healesville and Surrounding areas.

Yarra Ranges Council has embarked on a feasibility study to see if it is viable to develop some solar farms on old tip sites in the municipality, including Healesville. Council is very keen to ascertain how much interest there is from community groups in being involved.

Leo De Jong, our Technical Projects Manager and Jeff Barlow, our President, are both speaking with the consultants about how Healesville CoRE and the Healesville community could be involved. This is a very exciting development, and although it is only a feasibility study, and not a project that is being implemented, it is a great start to beginning to think about how we can use larger scale projects like solar farms to achieve our Net Zero ambitions for Healesville by 2027!! Healesville CoRE is likely to be in touch with you later in the year to see what your views are on a number of issues related to community involvement, including possible community financial investment in a solar farm. We are hoping some tangible results will emerge from the feasibility study.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to use energy in our homes and businesses in Healesville, produced by solar panels from the old tip site!! Healesville CoRE commends the Yarra Ranges Council for this initiative.

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Healesville CoRE AGM on Sunday 25 August from 2.30 to 4.30pm!

It’s hard to believe another year has passed and we have our 2019 AGM coming up very soon. This year we have invited Dr Peter Cock, a former lecturer in Environmental Science at Monash University and founder of the Moora Moora Cooperative Community, to talk about Living with Renewable Energy for 40 Years.

Moora Moora was founded on Mt Toolebewong, in the hills just 20 minutes from Healesville, in the mid 1970’s, and fought actively not to connect to the electricity grid. They have used renewable energy over that period of time and now also have a working internal Micro Grid linking some of their homes. Peter will talk about the Moora Moora experience and his experience with renewable energy, from a time when it was not very popular in Australian to now, when the whole of Australia is in transition towards a renewable energy future.

Everyone is welcome to attend but only financial members of Healesville CoRE can vote at the AGM. If you would like to book a place at the AGM please contact us at this email address: healesvillecore@gmail.com

If you are a member of Healesville CoRE or would like to become a member and serve on our Central Committee or on one of our Sub Committees please get in touch. We would love to hear from you. Our three Sub Committees are Technical Projects, Community Engagement and Media. We really need the active involvement of our community and welcome new members to engage in our very exciting project to transition Healesville to Net Zero carbon from electricity consumption by 2017.

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Healesville CoRE Hits a Century in April!

We planned to have 100 financial members by the end of September this year but we reached that number at the end of April, five months early! This is a very exciting development that shows the real support from our community for the work we are doing. At the same time our data base has risen from just over 500 to 760! Who says small communities are not interested in community renewable energy? We could not do our work without this community support and we celebrate this fantastic growth over such a short time of just under 2 years! Well done Healesville!

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Finally, some Success with a Grant to Support our Work!

We are really excited to announce we have received $3,607.50 in funding from the Commonwealth Government to finance the training of 5 Healesville volunteers to learn how to conduct free Home Energy Efficiency Audits to help Healesville household reduce energy bills, with a focus on vulnerable households to begin with.

Glen Morris, who many of you know from his interesting and engaging workshops for Healesville CoRE, has been appointed the trainer and some volunteers have already expressed an interest. If you are interested in this one-day training please contact us at contact@healesvillecore.org.au for further information and we will be in touch! Watch this space!!

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Tony Smith, MHR for Casey, Pledges Big Bucks for Healesville Indoor Swimming Pool Refurbishment, Solar Panels & Batteries if Coalition wins the Election!

$1.5 million has been promised for this work, according to the local paper, provided the current Government is returned to office at the upcoming elections. As well as the general refurbishment of the building, a new roof will be added, with solar panels linked to battery storage. Healesville CoRE is delighted with this announcement as it will reduce the pool’s huge power bills by replacing energy from the grid with free solar energy, with a consequent reduction in carbon emissions from the pool’s energy consumption.

Healesville CoRE was involved in discussions with the High School Principal, about the pool in 2018, but we were not able to do anything due to lack of funding opportunities. This offer is a great example of what can be done with solar energy in a small town, when the Government gets behind a project. It is a pity it has only been offered now, and only if the Coalition wins the election! But it is a step in the right direction and we applaud this initiative and congratulate Tony Smith on his foresight and support!

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Sustainable House Day Success

Healesville CoRE’s involvement in Sustainable House Day 2017 was a great success.

Well over 100 people visited the local houses to hear about their sustainability features. These included many locals as well as those further afield from the city, and as far as Eildon and the Mornington Peninsula.

A big thank you to those who opened their houses up and also to the volunteers who helped on the day.

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Sustainable House Day 2017

Healesville CoRE is excited to be taking part in Sustainable House Day 2017 with four local and sustainable houses on display on Sunday September 17 from 10am-4pm:

  1. An inspiring underground house in Steels Creek, featured in Grand Designs Australia
  2. Two off-grid straw bale homes at Moora Moora Co-op on Mt Toolebewong
  3. A prototype off-grid tiny house from iCue Homes on display in their Hunter St factory in Healesville.

Look for the Sustainable House Day 2017 Poster.

Sustainable House Day is a national event organised by the Alternative Technology Association. It gives visitors a chance to inspect first-hand houses that have been designed, built or renovated with sustainability in mind as well as the opportunity to talk to owners and receive unbiased advice. Entry is either free or by gold coin donation.

Passive heating and cooling – free energy! Saving energy with careful design, insulation, glazing and other materials and appliances. And of course – renewable energy.

To attend houses on the day, you need to register on the Sustainable House Day website: https://sustainablehouseday.com.

You can search using ‘3777’ to find the local houses. Come and join us!

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This is Us

This report is a useful resource containing an overview of community feedback received during the Healesville CoRE Community Gathering on June 29,  2017.   Between 225 – 250 individuals attended the gathering at the Memo and 116 returned a completed feedback form.

All ongoing feedback is important.  Please keep in touch.

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