The City Council wants Christchurch to become an international leader in sustainability and become a showcase of a good
place to live with clear business, social and community benefits.
Yesterday the Strategy and Resources Committee decided to commit the council to a process to build a sustainable
Christchurch and the Council's Director of Finance, Bob Lineham, was directed to investigate the potential to establish
a "catalyst fund" for a sustainable Christchurch.
The moves followed a report by a City Council Solid Waste Engineer, Eric Park, who said the city should have an action
plan to make Christchurch "one of the world's leading sustainable cities, socially, environmentally and economically,
using holistic new paradigms."
There was huge potential for significant advances to be made to improving the sustainability and restorative capacity of
Council operations and other city activities "by applying some focus to the task," Mr Park said. Resources that entered
the Christchurch economy were valued at $610 million worth of energy, $100 million work of packaging, and $10 million
worth of water a year.
"Inefficiencies in the economy cause the city to waste $35 million annually to discard unwanted production, solid and
liquid waste," Mr Park said.
"This waste cost excludes the liability generated by discharge of two million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere, the value of the resources being discarded and the cost to individuals and businesses of managing and
transporting those discarded resources," he said.
It was apparent that reducing the city's energy use by only 3 per cent would save the city $17.5 million a year. A 50
per cent reduction in landfilll and wastewater treatment costs would be required to achieve the same level of dollar
savings, he said.
That ignored capital development and expansion costs for both treatment systems, Mr Park said.
The City Council itself had made savings, he said. Since 1993 more than $8 million had been saved in energy costs and
savings were running now at $2 million a year. Council agendas were printed on recycled paper, water had been conserved,
kerbside recycling had been introduced and the Recovered Materials Foundation had been established.
Mr Park said the Council had already taken steps to get its own house in order. A team was set up to bring improved
sustainability initiatives and a group established to move ideas forward.
The chairwoman of the Environment Committee, Cr. Anna Crighton, told the committee that some European cities were ahead
of Christchurch in terms of sustainability. She said Christchurch should get tough on environmental indicators. The
chairman of the City Services Committee, Cr. Denis O'Rourke, said the Council was now identifying the "real things"
which could be tackled. "This is about getting in there and doing it," he said.
The matter will be on the Council agenda at its August 24 meeting for further discussion.