Call for other transport to change energy use

Cr Aaron Hawkins
Cr Aaron Hawkins
Continued investment in alternative forms of transport could help turn around a decline in renewable energy use in Dunedin, a city councillor says.

Cr Aaron Hawkins was commenting on the latest Dunedin Energy Study, released last week, which found total energy use was up 5% in 2017-18.

Reliance on renewables had dropped 2%, to 32% of the mix.

Cr Hawkins, speaking at yesterday's economic development committee meeting, said the report ''obviously isn't great news'', but neither was it ''particularly surprising''.

The city's population was growing and in transport, the sector consuming the most energy across the city, alternatives to fossil fuel-burning vehicles were still ''less than attractive'', he said.

The city needed to continue to invest in improving walking and cycling options and to provide efficient and affordable public transport, he said.

It was a view echoed by the study itself.

It suggested more work to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles, ride-sharing, public transport and ''active'' transport - such as cycling - to reduce emissions.

Cr Hawkins said the Otago Regional Council also needed to do its part, by using its procurement process to drive up the standard of buses plying city streets, he believed.

The Christchurch City Council had recently moved to encourage the introduction of electric buses there, and the ORC needed to be more ''ambitious'' and do the same here, he said.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said housing was another area with ''enormous'' potential for energy savings.

Simply insulating homes across the city to a standard expected as a minimum in other countries would save ''millions'' in energy costs, he said.

Cr Lee Vandervis took a different view, arguing the report's findings were ''completely predictable''.

They would do nothing to help the city adapt to climate change, and neither would the millions of dollars invested in cycleways, he said.

However, Cr Christine Garey and Cr Hawkins disagreed, arguing the uptake of cycling would only improve as the city's partially-finished network was completed and sections joined up.

''I don't think it's helpful to use an incomplete network as an argument for not completing it,'' Cr Hawkins said.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Comments

The Greens councilors simply can't get their heads around Dunedin's realities.
Many of Dunedins population do not live on the flat and the steep hills for most people preclude the use of bikes.
Dunedin has an older community, despite 20,000 or so students for part of the year. Many older people simply can't ride a bike any real distance.
Dunedin has a climate that for much of the year makes riding bikes unpleasant.

And, even where bike lanes are largely build and the area is flat, like South Dunedin, very few people choose to ride bikes.

But still, the blinkered ideologues persist with the theory of "build it and they will come". No matter the cost or other uses Dunedin could have for the money. Shear blinkered idiocy.

Again KeithMcC you hit the nail on the head and bang on the money, What is wrong with these people in so called leadership positions they have no life skills. They all need to be taken to task and held accountable when in the position and for some years afterwards. The Greens are forcing and implementing greenie policy at the council level because they can't get in to Government. time for it to stop

I for one biked and walked everywhere around Dunedin for years. Ride a 10 speed up Maryhill, when I lived with my parents. Walked to work when I lived in Brockville in one of my first flatting experiences.
Moved over to Germany, because cycling is a norm there, I had no problem adjusting.
Came back to Dunedin, I walk for enjoyment now, but living in Andersons Bay, who wants to carry groceries back home, when there is no bus service that runs up my street?
In essence I think it's a positive idea. Exercise is good for the health. Catching buses in Dunedin, unlike other countries Dunedin bus services are OK at the best of times. Yes I agree electric buses are a wonderful investment, the DCC could apply for funding from the Government, to carry out this idea.

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