Council, let the sun shine in
Open letter To MidCoast Council re Draft Operational Plan (2018-19)
Half a century has passed since the rock musical Hair hit the headlines and yet, today, MidCoast Council is blocking the sun from shining in on its peak documents.
I make this submission, as secretary of Manning Clean Water Action Group which, earlier this year, made a submission encouraging council to note and promote solar energy and other renewable energy sources in our community's Strategic Plan to 2030.
Subsequently I made an oral presentation to the council at its strategic committee meeting at Forster on April 11 but the council decided against including explicit reference to promoting solar energy in the community's strategic plan. Instead, during discussion, it was indicated that such references would be made in the next level of planning documentation which I took to mean the operational plan - a draft of which is before us today.
Ominously the draft operational plan is absolutely silent about the promotion of solar energy and so my question to council is: at what level of its regimen of strategy or operational plans will it let the sun shine in?
Interestingly the very large Newcastle City Council has a strategy "to investigate and implement alternative energy technologies such as wind, tidal, solar and harnessing landfill gas" as one of its community strategies to 2030.
And then there is Lismore City Council which, last January, launched its community solar initiative with the first council/community owned solar farm in the country. This is one of the many measures in that council's Renewable Energy Master Plan to achieve self-generation of all its electricity from renewable sources by 2023.
Councillors, spare yourself the prospect of me having to come to your meeting to talk to you again about this - just “Let the Sun Shine in”!