Calling all Kāpiti residents! Would you like to spend eight months creating the kind of community we all want to live in: one where neighbours know and care about each other and our shared impact on the planet?
Launching in late July, Greener Neighbourhoods is a new community-led, Council-supported initiative for groups of five or more households. At its heart it’s about increasing resilience, building community and reducing environmental impact.
Following on from Kapiti Coast’s Greenest Neighbourhood, which ran from 2010 to 2014, it retains the competition’s emphasis on community and environment, but the contest is gone.
We’ve also loosened up the geographical criteria, emphasising that households need to be an easy walk from each other for that neighbourly feeling, and reduced the group size to five or more households in line with the criteria for waste reduction grants and Green Gardener visits.
To make the most of your Greener Neighbourhoods experience, a series of fun and practical activities are planned. These include a project launch, ecological footprinting, a civil defence challenge supported by the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office, a waste audit, a nutrient recycling workshop, a water conservation workshop and a home eco-audit workshop.
“The Council workshops have been a great motivator and provide context for community building”, Robyn White, previous participant, Paekakariki.
Council’s Sustainable Communities Coordinator can also help you to develop your own bright ideas. In the past these have ranged from preserving lessons between neighbours to garden bees, bike repair clinics, collective composting, community fruit harvesting and community gardens, seed swaps, carpooling, workshops on water conservation, eco-cleaner making sessions and working bees to build compost bins, biodigesters and rat traps.
Simply getting together over food and drink is also popular. Participants in previous competitions have held monthly pot lucks to exchange ideas, seeds and produce, get-togethers to build and then relax in a community garden, street parties and a weekly ‘Happy Hour’ for the wider community to keep in touch and meet new-comers. The effects have sometimes been dramatic.
“More community networking has been achieved in a year than in the previous 18 I’ve lived here”, said Rick Swan from Reikorangi.
To get your Greener Neighbourhood ready to kick-off in late July, there’s a few steps to take before then:
1. Get in touch with Council. The Sustainable Communities Coordinator can answer your questions and let you know if anyone nearby has expressed interest.
2. Invite your neighbours – you don’t all have to be on the same street but you do need to be close enough to encourage that neighbourhood feel (i.e. live within easy walking distance). Door-knocking with a written invitation to get together and discuss Greener Neighbourhood seems to be the most effective method.
3. Host a gathering. Meeting to discuss doing positive things in their neighbourhood with people they’re getting to know and like gets people enthusiastic. The Sustainable Communities Coordinator can join you to answer questions.
4. If you find at least five keen households in your area, you’re on your way to a greener, friendlier, more resilient neighbourhood. Fill out a registration form now!
Stacey Gasson, Sustainable Communities Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jake Roos, Climate Change & Energy Advisor, email@example.com
Phone: 04 296 4700 or 0800 286 286