Taking part in the Sustainability Forum at South Lismore are guest speaker Tony Smark from the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group near Castlemaine, Victoria; with forum participants (from left) Jane McInerney, Lyn Bell and Gwen McNamara.
Taking part in the Sustainability Forum at South Lismore are guest speaker Tony Smark from the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group near Castlemaine, Victoria; with forum participants (from left) Jane McInerney, Lyn Bell and Gwen McNamara. Mel McMillan

Lismore dreams of a sustainable future

IMAGINE Lismore as a city powered by wind and solar energy. Where all the food is grown locally. Where buildings are designed to be cool in summer without air-conditioning, and warm in winter without heating. Imagine a sustainable city.

That is what a group of about 40 concerned people were doing at a Community Sustainability Forum held in South Lismore on Saturday.

The forum, which was the brainchild of Lismore environmental consultant Gordon Fraser-Quick, was held to look at how other cities were becoming more sustainable and what could be adopted in Lismore.

“We have been looking at food security, energy security and community development,” Mr Fraser-Quick said.

Mr Fraser-Quick said that currently much of Lismore's food was transported in on trucks from other areas.

“Our electricity also comes from remote power stations,” he said.

Mr Fraser-Quick said the forum was held to lay the foundations for developing a sustainability plan for Lismore.

One of the weekend's speakers, Tony Smark, from the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group, near Castlemaine in Victoria, said that his group had achieved a lot in the three years it had been operating. “We have about 800 members now,” he said.

Mr Smark said that his group had imported a container-load of solar panels from China.

“We have solar panels on almost all roofs of schools, preschools and sporting clubs in Castlemaine,” he said. “We now have 72 homes with PV panels (solar panels).”

Mr Smark said the group was about to undertake a multi-million dollar wind turbine project, which would provide power to the majority of Castlemaine's homes.

“It will be community owned,” he said.

Mr Smark said the use of wind turbines to generate power had been controversial, but his group would be doing a full environmental impact study.

“Very few birds are killed by turbines and these days they make very little noise,” he said.

The wind turbines would offer investors a return of between six and nine per cent, Mr Smark said.

Anyone interested in finding out more can call Gordon Fraser-Quick on 6622 4221 or 0414 6448 93.



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