21 January 2009
Hamilton's city-wide Environmental Sustainability Strategy will have some heavy weight behind it when it is launched this Thursday. Environment Minister the Honourable Dr Nick Smith will be the keynote speaker as the city reveal's its vision to engage residents and businesses in the changes needed to make Hamilton a sustainable city.
The strategy is the work of ten key organisations who came together last year to set out a collective vision for environmental sustainability in Hamilton – Hamilton City Council, WEL Networks, Nga Mana Toopu o Kirikiriroa, the Centre for Biodiversity and Ecological Research, the Department of Conservation, The Enviroschools Foundation, the University of Waikato, Environment Waikato, the Sustainable Business Network and the Waikato Raupatu Trustee Company.
Hamilton City Council strategy and research manager Tegan McIntyre says that rapid urban growth in recent years means now more than ever it is the time for a concerted and collective response on environmental priorities.
"Hamilton is growing fast, but as residents we still enjoy many of the benefits of smaller city living – large green spaces, low air pollution and enough high quality water to meet our needs. As city growth continues, pressure on those resources and pressure on the natural environment we live in will increase.
"Our natural environment is the back bone of our economic, social and cultural well-being. Now is the time for us to step up and look at how we as a city can strike the best balance between economic growth, land use and the protection of important environmental resources."
Ms McIntyre says the strategy sets out a tangible plan of action to achieve that balance and mobilising people on the ground will be key.
"Already Hamilton has a strong history of environmental leadership. Founded in Hamilton, the Enviroschools Programme is now a national success and as a city we are also a leading participant in Communities for Climate Protection.
"The strategy sets out a number of key focus areas - environmentally sensitive urban growth, healthy ecosystems and resource conservation - and a number of flagship projects to be delivered within 3-5 years. These are complex issues and to address them we need to springboard off the leadership strength we already have and encourage widespread change by engaging everyone."
The launch of the strategy will take place this Thursday from 5.30-7pm at Kakariki House, Hamilton's first four-star rated sustainable building.
Ms McIntyre says even the document itself is looking to the future. "The strategy was developed in a sustainable building and a small number of hard copies have been printed on recycled paper using vegetable inks. We encourage people to share their copy or encourage others to view it online at www.hamilton.co.nz/envirostrategy "
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Name: Tegan McIntyre
Designation: Strategy and Research Unit Manager
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6637
Name: Christine Watson
Designation: Communication Executive
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6509
Mobile: 021 791 264
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6761