What Council is doing
Like many councils around New Zealand, Kāpiti Coast District Council declared a climate change emergency in May 2019. This declaration was in response to calls from residents, businesses and citizen groups that Council must take stronger action on climate change.
For some Council activities, climate change mitigation and adaptation have been embedded in how we work for quite some time. For other activities, we're just starting to think about what we must do. There is much more for all of us to do. Despite knowing about climate change for some time, action in New Zealand has not met the scale of the need. Now is the time to step up our actions.
As well as the actions below, we're also developing our Climate Emergency Action Framework.
We’ve been working on reducing our corporate emissions for a number of years, and have made good progress in achieving ambitious targets. We’ve had a Carbon and Energy Management Plan in place since 2012 which set a goal of achieving an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2021/22 compared to a 2010 baseline.
By 2018/19, we’d reduced our emissions 77 percent from the 2010 baseline, and reconfirmed our goal to become carbon neutral by 2025.
To reduce our emissions, we’ve done things like reduce sewage sludge emissions, transitioned from using coal to wood chip fuel at the waste water treatment plant (for which we won the Excellence in Climate Action – Medium Organisation in the 2019 Toitu Envirocare Awards), and improved the efficiency of our vehicles and buildings.
We're updating our Carbon and Energy Management Plan. Some of the projects we have on the go to further reduce our organisational emissions include:
- continuing to transition our vehicle fleet to lower emission vehicles
- improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon at Ōtaki Pool
- continuing to look for energy efficiency improvements at the Council’s other facilities and buildings
- monitoring new and emerging technologies to reduce the emissions impact of food and other waste
- upskilling our staff in sustainable procurement so the goods and services we purchase are environmentally friendly and carbon neutral
- planting trees and regenerating natural areas to further reduce and offset carbon emissions.
As part of managing our Council's assets – like pipes, roads, buildings and playgrounds – we have been using models to anticipate increasing risks related to our increasing weather events, to prepare our insfrastructure for increasing natural hazards.
To ensure the continuity of our core services, our approach to adaptation is to maintain and protect essential public assets. This includes maintaining and protecting essential public assets like the infrastructure and services that support our community – things like our three waters (drinking, waste- and stormwater) and our transport assets, as well as some non-critical infrastructure like community halls, libraries, pools and playgrounds.
Programmes of work we've recently completed, or are still carrying out, to increase the resilience of essential public assets include:
- A prioritised programme of major and minor stormwater projects. This started in 2018, with an initial focus on upgrading the systems in areas where homes have experienced flooding above floor level during severe storm events.
- Various upgrades to water supplies (based in Ōtaki, Hautere, Waikanae, and Paekākāriki) to ensure continuous compliance with water safety standards, to be followed by further upgrades in coming years.
- Renewals and upgrades of existing assets across the water network – designed and prioritised with consideration of climate change and other natural hazard predictions, to ensure a reliable distribution of potable water across the district.
- Planned renewals to the wastewater system over the course of our Long-term Plan, designed to improve energy efficiency and enhance containment resilience with consideration of climate change and natural hazards predictions.
- Improvements to the transport network and the adoption of standards that support network resilience, particularly on key lifeline routes that can experience flooding or landslips during severe storm events.
- Ongoing maintenance of beach outlets, sea walls, and rock revetments to protect Council’s coastal assets and prepare for storm surges to the extent practicable.
Adapting our community infrastructure to the predicted impacts of climate change will be expensive. We've called on central Government to play a leading role in this work, through our declaration of a climate change emergency, and along with the wider local government sector.
Where our work could affect private property, we work with local communities. We're currently delivering the Takutai Kāpiti Coast: Our community-led coastal adaptation project.
We support our community to decrease emissions, while increasing sustainability and resilience in our communities, homes and businesses.
Council has a number of programmes to reduce districtwide emissions:
- The Stride ‘n’ Ride programme, which has already built over 10 kilometres of trails across Kāpiti to improve connections for walking, cycling and horse riding between our major towns, transport hubs, and key recreation routes will continue, with a greater focus north of Peka Peka to align with the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway, beginning next year.
- A trans-regional partnership between ChargeNet, Electra, Kāpiti Coast District Council, and Horowhenua District Council to establish seven electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the Kāpiti and Horowhenua districts, with funding from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) Low Emission Vehicle Contestable fund.
- The Zero Waste Education Programme, which is available free to all primary schools in Kāpiti.
- Waste Levy Grants, which fund community groups and businesses to progress new and novel ways to reduce their waste.
- Trials of new composting programmes to reduce food and greenwaste going to landfill across Kāpiti.
- Regular workshops and newsletter for developing sustainable and resilient communities.
For services that are delivered by other agencies, like public transport, Council actively works to build relationships and advocate with government agencies for better services in our District. You can read our submissions at Submissions we have made.
Council is an active member in the Wellington Regional Climate Change Working Group.
You can find out all about what the Greater Wellington Regional Council is doing at Climate change: Our biggest challenge.