HIGHER COSTS: A relatively new resident to Lismore, Chloe Allan, and her nine-month-old daughter Hannah Toomey at home in their backyard.
HIGHER COSTS: A relatively new resident to Lismore, Chloe Allan, and her nine-month-old daughter Hannah Toomey at home in their backyard. Jacklyn Wagner

City living cheaper, greener

NORTH COAST residents are kidding themselves if they think they're greener than their city cousins, if an international emissions study is anything to go by.

Research by The International Institute of Environment and Development, released this week, found the average city slicker is responsible for far fewer emissions than country folk.

Researcher for the London-based research body, David Dodman, said the city has density-related advantages for both travel and heating.

“When you have a critical mass of people, like in London or New York, public transport becomes a feasible option for many. And a flat that is surrounded by others is more efficient to heat than a free-standing house,” he reported.

Elders Bangalow real estate agent Martin Toomey, who sells to a growing number of tree and sea-changers, said many of his city clients were unrealistic about the environmental impact of moving to the bush.

“There is a prevalent misapprehension that a more 'laid back' pace of life will somehow lower their cost of living and reduce their carbon footprint.

“The reality is that larger average land sizes for property owners and longer commutes invariably mean more energy consumption and more commitments, not less,” he said.

Mr Toomey, originally from Melbourne, moved to East Lismore this year with partner Chloe Allen to raise their 10-month-old daughter Hannah.

Ms Allan, who grew up on the Bohdi Farm community in The Channon but spent most of her adult life in inner- city Sydney, is cynical of the North Coast idyll.

“We thought that when we moved here we'd be greener but in reality, we've just become daggier,” said Ms Allan.

She said the modern realities of juggling work, study and a young family have meant that her well-meaning veggie garden had 'turned to mush'.

Since moving from a new three-bedroom Gold Coast townhouse to their 'draughty old' three-bedroom family home their electricity bill had doubled.



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