Paul Koch’s responses to Questions on Climate Change
In this post we invited all the candidates in Gawler and surrounding councils to answer the 4 questions we formulated with respect to what their knowledge and stance is on climate change.
Here’s the response we received from Paul Koch:
Question 1: What relevance do you see climate change issues having for Gawler Council over the next 4 years?
a) Not relevant
b) A bit relevant
c) An issue which council deals with among many issues
d) One of the more important issues for Council
e) An issue which should be at the centre of Council planning
For me a mixture of d and e. There is a range of competing issues that Council needs to address and climate change is an important element in almost all of them. So Council needs to consider climate change as affecting hard infrastructure as well as social infrastructure.
Question 2: What actions are you aware of where Gawler Council is currently taking action related to climate change?
As an elected member for the last 4 years I originally saw reluctance by Council administration to take climate change as a top agenda issue. There has been a charge in administration and I believe a more genuine approach to tackling the issues. Apart from the moral imperative to take action there is an understanding that there is a long term financial benefit.
So there have been some interesting initiatives, For example the project Gawler Going Green. This is a program that looks at adopting more energy efficient appliances etc to not only to save energy but also costs long term. There will also be an education program that will be rolled out soon.
Council is purchasing more energy efficient vehicles in their fleet. Also there is a submission in for bicycles that can be used by staff to travel between council sites.
A major upgrading to the pool is almost competed to improve the efficiency of the heating unit. This will save a lot of fuel and money.
There is a realisation that cycling and walking is a clever way for people to move around, so some work is happening on that front. The rivers path is one example but more is in train.
Another is one I pushed for, the linking of the Jack Bobridge pathway to Clonlea, passing by the two schools in Gawler East. This route matches in with the existing Way to Go program. This will hopefully, encourage more students to ride to school and change the behaviour of motorists in the surrounding neighbourhood. The more friendlier we can make it for bikes and walkers the better.
Question 3: What actions do you think Gawler Council should be undertaking in the next 4 years related to climate change?
There needs to be a realisation of the effects of climate change. In particular we need to factor in the effects on flooding. At the moment modelling not does necessarily take this in account. So the predicted large summer storms are not considered. This needs to happen.
Setting a CO2 reduction target and working towards it.
Question 4: What actions do you think Gawler Council should be undertaking with the broader Gawler community related to climate change?
Being a leader in reducing the level of carbon emissions.
More education on the effects and possible adaptive strategies.
More sustainable horticultural practices , this goes right back to the concept and design phase.
More recycling. For example the uptake of soft plastics recycling which I was part of implementing as a pilot program in Gawler which came about through collaboration of a number of different organisations and groups. This will expand over the coming years, but needs support.
Overall encourage recycling of all materials away from landfill. The Garage Sale Trail was an example of an initiative that had a bigger message of taking material away from landfill.
Work closely with NAWMA on its initiatives to improve recycling and more sustainable practices.
Support electric car charging stations. I put up a proposal for a public charging station about two years ago. Unfortunately it was not supported by the other councillors so didn’t get a guernsey. The uptake of electric vehicles is increasing, so I’m part of a group at the Electric
Vehicle Association looking at regional charging networks incorporating Local Government and businesses to create regional solutions. These regions will then be able to link together to create greater coverage . In particular opening up regions for people with EV and tourism etc.
I believe our Council could be at the forefront of this initiative.
I would like Gawler to be an innovative town embracing change ( sustainability), leading from the front.
Overall there is a need to elect people that are vocal about environmental issues to put in the policies and then action that really make a change.
I’ve proven over that last 4 years on Council, I speak up for the environment. I walk the talk
Click here to see the list of those candidates who have responded