Step to carbon neutrality


THE shire council could close the Rye tip by late 2018 as it seeks to become carbon neutral.

The goal of becoming carbon neutral advanced another step at the council’s meeting on Monday last week when councillors voted to develop a policy that includes the vital step of closing the tip or landfill.

The tip emits nearly half the shire’s carbon dioxide. If it remains open following the opening of a new “cell” for waste, emissions will rise by nearly half by 2050 instead of falling by about three-quarters, the meeting was told.

Shire waste could be sent to the huge landfill about an hour away in Hampton Park if Rye tip were to close.

First steps in the carbon neutral plan include improving energy efficiency, upgrading street lights, more use of solar power, offsetting remaining emissions by buying carbon offsets within the shire, and short-term spending.

Part of the strategy involves revegetation that would absorb CO2 in the quest to have the shire accredited as carbon neutral. A variety of other programs, including a pilot program with sporting clubs and a federally funded shire aged and disability care project, aim to cut energy costs for residents across the peninsula.

The shire renewable resources team led by Jessica Wingad was congratulated by Cr Tim Rodgers, who set the new policy in motion at a meeting last November.

He praised Ms Wingad and her team for the “brilliant” report. For the past decade the shire had involved the community in climate change, with speakers including Professor Tim Flannery addressing meetings in the shire, he said.

“We had about 3000 people attend our Climate Change Conversation meetings around the peninsula,” Cr Rodgers said. “The halls were packed. People were very keen to find out about the issue of climate change. They wanted to know about the science, the facts and the future.

“And they wanted to know what council and they could do to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

Now we all know the facts, he said. “We all know that sea levels are rising, summers are getting hotter, heatwaves are killing the frail and elderly, our drains are failing to cope with storms, coasts are crumbling, and the bushfire season continues to lengthen.

“So the research says that we must do something about it and we have got to do something about it now – both to mitigate and adapt.”

The carbon neutral report was about mitigation, he said. “It is about the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council doing its bit; our bit to become carbon neutral.”

The next step in the program occurs at the 14 September council meeting when the shire’s municipal waste and resource recovery strategy is due to be discussed. The future of Rye tip will no doubt come up.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 18 August 2015


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