Earlier this year, we knew we could influence the Council’s 2016/17 budget by submitting a request to achieve greater outcomes around more renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our submission attracted the attention of the Mayor, who called a meeting to discuss our submission and requests.
After brief introductions and clarification that SCAN was aware of Council’s targets and achievements regarding sustainability, members of the group spoke about our submission to Council and the reason for requesting an urgent and significant ramping up of Council’s targets.
Cr Ullin made it clear that he considered it political and inappropriate to use the meeting for discussion of the causes of climate change. He described Stonnington as “an environmentally friendly Council”. He and the Council staff members projected confidence that Council is doing a good job in meeting its sustainability targets (through energy conservation rather than offsets) and other related work as set out in the recently released Sustainability Snapshot for 2014/15.
SCAN members stressed that, while appreciative of what Council is doing, the latest information concerning the rate of Global Warming makes it urgent/vital to set the target much higher and for it to be achieved in a shorter time frame (i.e. zero emissions by 2026).
Cr Ullin said, “Council has no mandate for widespread, cross municipality 100% emissions. Council is trying to lead by example – solar on Council buildings; HP King Pavilion Environment Ed Centre; outreach etc.” Again, we acknowledged their great work and took a deep breath!
He and his staff indicated Council is very unlikely to change the budget at this late stage (although they are still receiving community submissions) but SCAN is free to put our submission to Cr. Koce along with a covering letter mentioning today’s discussion which will be tabled at the next Council meeting. SCAN’s petition of over 300 signatures could be presented at the same time.
The Mayor indicated Council would be pleased to have SCAN’s assistance in linking into the community on sustainability issues as this is proving to be a challenging task, e.g. getting businesses to sign up to the Green Businesses program, and publicising Council’s Solar energy initiatives with a view to increasing uptake.
We believe this is a good first step and look forward to working with Council in the future to achieve greater climate and environmental outcomes.