by Chris Skellett, co-chair
A major dilemma for any community trust is knowing the extent to which it reflects the values and wishes of the community. Dunedin is rife with examples of ambitious projects carried out 'on behalf of the people' by well-meaning folk who had no idea what the majority of their constituents wished for. They presumably were surrounded by sycophants telling them what a great idea their pet project would be. They never took the pulse of their community, or else they kept their heads in the sand. For the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust it is vitally important that we keep communicating effectively with local residents, and make our decisions in accordance with the majority opinion. This is not the time to be foisting another think big project onto an unwilling and innocent community.
It was therefore highly gratifying to see the level of support that was given to the recent PledgeMe campaign to fund the erection of the new 30 metre wind monitoring tower on Porteous Hill. Contributions came from over 100 different sources, both nationally but more importantly from within our community. Every donation was effectively a vote in favour of advancing the project. We easily reached our target figure of $8,500. When taken with the generally positive feedback that we received at the three community meetings at Long Beach, Warrington and Waitati halls last November, this wonderful fund-raising achievement means we are confident that the community is currently supportive of the wind cluster project.
We continue to cautiously explore the options for shaping the project, and are determined to ensure that any wind cluster that is built returns a tangible benefit to residents of Blueskin Bay. Otherwise, why bother? The coming year will be extremely interesting as we continue to gather data to ensure that the project is viable, whilst at the same time continuing negotiations with some fairly significant interested parties such as Pioneer Generation, the Otago Harbour Board, and the Dunedin City Council.
Good communication with local residents is the key for us to proceed with confidence. You can contact any member of the trust directly if you would like more information about our activities, or to express an opinion. Our contact details are provided on the website, and you can phone the office on 482 2048 and leave a message. In the meantime, we undertake to keep you all informed of progress to the best of our ability.
Our AGM is scheduled for Friday 31 May at 7:30pm in Waitati Hall. Everyone is welcome to come along and contribute to the on-going debate about our evolving plans.