Councils launch climate change survey

Alpine and Towong Shire Councils are asking members of the community to share ideas and opinions about how the councils can best prepare for the predicted impacts of Climate Change in the region.

The councils have started work on a project investigating potential actions they can take to improve their ability to cope with impacts such as hotter summers, more intense storm events, bushfires and less rainfall and snow.

Council staff have participated in the first of two workshops designed to relate the climate predictions for the North East to councils' ability to deliver their services and maintain infrastructure within the Alpine and Towong communities.

The second workshop will take place next month and residents and ratepayers in both shires are invited to participate in the process through a survey to generate ideas about what measures each council can take to best minimise the risks identified in the first workshop. The workshop will also investigate potential opportunities the area may have from a changing climate.

"The latest climate science is telling us that even if greenhouse gas emissions were drastically cut now, we are 'locked in' to a certain amount of Climate Change for the next 20-100 years, due to the activities of the last 50 years," said Nikki Scott, Executive Officer, North East Greenhouse Alliance.

"This will impact on council services and infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Identifying potential impacts specific to each shire will enable better planning and budgeting for council response to these challenges," Ms Scott said.

"It is important for councils to adequately assess the risks that Climate Change poses to their operations," Cr Peter Roper from the Alpine Shire Council said.

"That way we can easily identify issues that need to be addressed as a priority to ensure that council is well prepared. It is also going to be interesting to investigate how council could support and encourage new opportunities in the area that may arise from a changing climate," Cr Roper said.

There's more information and links to the survey here.

Surveys will be received until 31 March 2010. However, views collected by the end of January will be incorporated in the second workshop taking place in February. If you are unable to complete the survey online or print off a copy of the survey, please contact (03) 5755 0555 and ask for a copy to mailed to you.

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