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Greenest Street known soon

Kapiti Coast’s Greenest Street will be known in less than a month, Mayor Jenny Rowan said today, and the judges face a daunting task choosing an overall winner.

The judging team of the Mayor, Caleb Royal, Kevin Milne, Liana Stupples and Joy Darke first visited the streets at the start of the competition in October last year.

“It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm of the neighbourhoods then and I know that each has been on a voyage of personal discovery and development since then,” Jenny Rowan said.

The four competing streets are preparing for the judges’ final visit on Saturday June 25 followed by a final decision and announcement on Sunday June 26 at a prize giving and celebration in Waikanae Memorial Hall.

The prize for the winning street is $3000 to be divided evenly between a local school, a not-for-profit organisation and an item or project of their choice.
Four streets – ‘Kakariki Street’ of Paekakariki (an alliance of Haumia and Te Miti Streets and Tilley Rd), Rainbow Court in Raumati South, Avion Terrace in Raumati Beach and Te Roto Road of Otaki - have worked collectively since October 2010 in a bid to reduce their combined ecological footprint.

The judges first met the 55 participating households when the competition was launched with a tour of their neighbourhoods in October last year. Since then they have been kept up-to-date on the streets’ progress via blogs and articles in newspapers and on-line media.

Each street will be creating a summary of their journey later this month, setting the scene for the final tour. The judges then face the difficult task of deciding overnight just who will take the title of Kapiti Coast’s Greenest Street 2011.
Stacey Gasson, Council’s Sustainable Communities Coordinator, says community spirit, creative thinking and green DIY have been to the fore over the past few weeks.

“Most recently we’ve seen workshops on rain barrels, eco-downlights and electricity monitors in Avion Terrace. There have been garden working bees, curtain-making, insulation, eco-bulbs and more electricity monitors in Kakariki Street.

“Te Roto Road donated their native plant nursery to a local restoration group, made a bulk firewood purchase, built solar cookers and held a royal wedding party while Rainbow Court’s community garden has grown in leaps and bounds. This week they’re building swales and terraces for growing kumera!”
“From the outset, it’s been a fascinating journey,” Mayor Rowan said, “and I’m told the pilot project has begun to attract attention beyond Kapiti.
“The holistic emphasis on neighbourhoods and broader environmental impact, rather than households and carbon emissions, appears to be a first for New Zealand.

“We’re looking forward to sharing with the district the summaries of the amazing projects the Streets have engaged in.”
After June 26 it will be business as usual for all of the Streets as they continue with long-term projects. ‘Kakariki Street’ and Rainbow Court are in the process of spending their Waste Reduction grants, with Kakariki St purchasing a community mulcher for their ‘Closing the Loop’ greenwaste recycling project, and Rainbow Court providing access to compost bins, worm farms or bokashi composting bins for all their residents.

Te Roto Road intend continuing their journey towards becoming a self-sufficient community, and Avion Terrace will meet regularly to support each other and develop shared interests.

Ms Gasson said, “On an individual level, participants have told me the competition has led them to make permanent lifestyle changes, not least of which is the increased sense of community among neighbours. They’ve had a lot of fun developing projects and cultivating friendships and they intend to continue down this path.”

The council plans to sponsor a second round of the competition, commencing in October. Information about the competition process, ecological footprinting, links to the Streets’ blogs and other articles and resources relating to the competition can be found at http://www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/Projects/Greenest-Street/.
Registrations of interest will be taken from July. Interested streets or individuals can contact Stacey Gasson at [email protected] or 04-296 4700.

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