Organisation Category: Public Administration & Safety
Situated in the heart of the North Island, Rotorua Lakes Council is the territorial authority of the Rotorua District. Council is committed to demonstrating environmental leadership towards the achievement of the district’s sustainability goals.
Rotorua has long been an iconic tourism destination for both New Zealand travellers and international visitors. It is known for its beautiful lakes, spectacular geothermal attractions, stunning scenery, and its warm and friendly people.
An important part of the ‘Rotorua 2030’ vision is Rotorua Lakes Council’s commitment to environmental leadership. We recognise that the good health of our natural environment is essential to the sustainability and growth of our district and want to ensure that Rotorua continues to be known globally for its clean natural environment, air quality and healthy lakes.
The main areas on which we are focusing are:
• Resilience to change
• Access to safe, nutritious food
• Affordable, healthy homes
• Sustainable management of land and water
• Minimised waste with value recovery
• Greater energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Clean Water
- Clean Energy-Energy Efficiency
- Good Food
- Smart Transport
When developing its vision to 2030, Council created a Sustainable Living Portfolio tasked with providing sustainability leadership for the district. Some of the initiatives already happening in Rotorua are:
United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme
Rotorua is New Zealand’s first signatory to the UN Global Compact - Cities Programme, a world-wide initiative aimed at creating sustainable societies. The Cities Programme focuses on collaboration between all levels of government, business, and the community to create sustainable societies where economic, environmental, political and cultural issues are integrated. Council is a ‘leading’ city, driving positive urban change through the implementation of its Sustainable Living Strategy. Council is aiming to become an ‘innovating’ level city.
Council has committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Carbon and Energy in 2018. We have undertaken our corporate carbon footprint and worked with Bay of Plenty Regional Council to develop a community footprint. Our next steps are to prepare a Climate change risk & vulnerability assessment, set target and prepare our Climate change & adaptation action plan.
Healthy Homes Project
Council has contracted Sustainability Options to provide a home performance advisory service to our community. The service provides independent advice to households and increases community awareness of home design for household affordability, energy and resource efficiency and quality. Council also works in collaboration with Bay of Plenty Regional Council to improve our winter-time air quality through a programme supporting replacement of old solid-fuel burners.
Local Food Security
Council is a proactive member of Kai Rotorua the Rotorua Local Food Network which aims to make healthy, locally grown food affordable and accessible for the whole community and to support sustainable, local food business to thrive. Our contribution includes making Council-controlled public land available for community gardens, maara kai, orchards, etc. and providing Neighbourhood Matching Fund grant funding towards these voluntary programmes. Council has also started a weekly Farmers Market as a venue for selling local produce.
The introduction of kerbside recycling in November 2016 has resulted in a marked increase in the amount of recyclables diverted from waste. Initial data comparing December 2016 with December 2015 shows a 20% increase in glass recycled and a 170% increase in other recyclables recovered. It is anticipated that Council's targeted recycling education programme will continue to improve the amount of recyclables diverted from landfill. In 2018 Council extended the recycling collection to cover many of our rural communities as well.
Waste and water management
Vermicomposting of co-blended bio solids and pulp fibre in place of landfilling and then incorporated into soil. This reduces pulp and bio solids waste, emissions, inorganic fertiliser use and cost to ratepayers, and at the same time improves soil carbon, productivity of fodder crops, and crop resilience to drought.
Significant funding in the LTP to reduce inflow and infiltration into the sewerage network to reduce pumping and defer capacity upgrades, and co-benefit will reduce the load of nitrogen leaving the treatment plant.
Council is closing Rotorua’s old landfill that does not use landfill gas and has environmental issues and dispose of waste in a landfill with lower carbon footprint.
Council is a partner in the Rotorua Lakes Programme to reduce the load of nitrogen to Lake Rotorua which will have the co-benefit of reducing agricultural emissions.
Council is committed to active transport and has 7 bikes available to staff, secure bike facilities and shower blocks. Staff are actively encouraged to use bikes for trips round town and to participate in initiatives such as the Aotearoa Bike Challenge.
2015-19 Urban Cycle Network, 26km of shared off-road path underway. Cycle skills training programme delivered in schools and community to support improved user capability on bikes and wheeled devices.
Sanatorium Reserve Restoration Project
The Sanatorium Reserve is a 77 hectare reserve located between Rotorua City and Lake Rotorua. It is the fourth largest area of geothermal habitat in New Zealand and is classified as a ‘critically endangered’ ecosystem. This unique area is a breeding site for at least five threatened bird species, and geothermal vegetation, including ‘at risk’ geothermal kānuka. The ecological values of the site are being compromised by the invasion of weed species, especially dense arrow root bamboo, which covers vast areas of the Reserve and excludes the growth of all other vegetation. Other threats to the environment include pest animals, unplanned vegetation clearance/ tracks and rubbish dumping. Rotorua Lakes Council and our project partners have a vision to restore this iconic Reserve to its former glory; to create a taonga for the people of our District and the population of New Zealand. The restoration has commenced in 2018 with the aim to re-establish the ecology and then further enhance the Reserve with a network of low-impact cycling and walking paths, viewing platforms and cultural/environmental interpretation. These will enable people to safely experience and enjoy this space and foster greater understanding and care of its precious environment.
Rotorua Aquatic Centre
The Aquatic Centre is a community facility owned by Council. All heating of the pool water, hot water and complex is provided through geothermal energy. The Centre has Enviro Silver accreditation from Qualmark, on the basis of its performance in the five key areas of energy management, waste management, water conservation, conservation and community.
Public spaces recycling and drinking water fountains
Recycling bins are located throughout the CBD, with further bins brought in for events. Water fountains are available in key locations including our parks and the CBD with a view to encouraging drinking water and reducing single-use plastic bottles.
Internal Council Initiatives:
Council’s main buildings moved from gas to geothermal energy for heating in 2016/17; and closely manage internal electricity energy efficiency. Council is exploring conversion of street lighting to LED.
All Council offices have on-site recycling of paper/cardboard, plastic, aluminium/ tin and glass.
Listing last updated 22/08/2017