Community group focuses on sustainable living

South Cantabrians are benefiting from an educational charity which is helping to spread the word about sustainability in the region.

The Sustainable South Canterbury Trust is a charity based in Timaru. They are encouraging locals to reduce waste, take responsibility for the environment and promoting efficient and sustainable practices.

Sustainability and resilience for town and country

While based in town they also encompass the country experience - showcasing amongst other things: growing garden produce, bush restoration, protecting water quality, energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

"There's a sense of urgency to reduce emissions and adapt to rainfall floods generated by climate warming, and to cope with external shocks such as quakes and epidemics. We need to become more confident and skilled, to be more resilient, as we’ll need to be able to fall back on our local resourcefulness when rivers and roads are being cut," says Trustee Rhys Taylor, who also manages an online education programme Future Living Skills.

EcoCentre headquarters

Architect’s image of EcoCentre at Timaru

Architect’s image of EcoCentre at Timaru

The group is setting up their headquarters in Redruth, and true to their sustainable practices even their building is recycled. What was the Highfield Bowls Club, has been moved onto new foundations on the former Timaru landfill, has just been re-roofed (courtesy of NZ Steel), and is being fitted out to be passive-solar and store the sun’s heat.

The EcoCentre is awaiting window enlargement, insulation, interior fittings, plumbing and electrics to complete its transition and should open its doors in 2021. When completed it will have a classroom, office, store, kitchen, toilets and display area for the latest initiatives to help make homes and businesses more sustainable.

Capital funding has come from Mid and South Canterbury Community Trust and Timaru District Council, among others.

Community initiatives and festivals

The Trust is already active in the community through the busy ‘Crow’s Nest’ op-shop, which for over a decade has reduced waste to landfill by reusing and recycling.

They also run a week-long sustainability festival every two years. The last one, supported in part by Environment Canterbury, was held in October 2019. It featured movies, planting days, a car boot sale and a festival day at Redruth Park with stalls raising awareness of electric vehicles, crop seed saving, spinning and fibre arts, pest controls and native plants, climate action, water issues, public transport and ways to reduce waste.

Follow: Sustainable South Canterbury Trust on Facebook

Main image: The EcoCentre at Redruth with [L to R] Sharon Breakwell, Crow’s Nest Manager; Rhys Taylor, one of four trustees, and Georgina Morrison, Executive Officer, Environment Hubs Aotearoa (which links Environment Centres across New Zealand).