Tonight we had the first meeting of the Kiama Sustainability Advisory Committee at the Council Chambers in Kiama.
This first meeting was basically for all the committee members to meet each other, to review our Terms Of Reference, to get a brief overview of current sustainability projects in our municipality, and to figure out what we’ll be doing going forward.
There are 9 committee members – three Councillors (Ben van der Wijngaart, Monique Dare-Ward and Neil Reilly), two Council employees, and 4 community representatives (one each from Gerringong-Gerroa-Werri Beach, Kiama-Kiama Heights (me!), Kiama Downs-Minnamurra-Bombo, and Jamberoo).
I was really impressed at the variety of experience amongst the other members of the committee. Most of them have been employed in the areas of environment and sustainability for many years, with post-graduate qualifications and all sorts of project experience. I’ve been reading about sustainability for years and understand most of the issues, but to date I haven’t got much actual experience. Like [Steve Pavlina says](http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/03/powerhouse-pros/), one of the best things you can do is to join a group where you just barely qualify for membership. They’ll pull you up to a whole new level.
That said, the purpose of the committee isn’t really to come up with project ideas nor to execute them. Our role will be to:
– provide access to individuals and groups to have input into and participate in the delivery of the [Sustainable Kiama Communities](http://www.kiama.nsw.gov.au/environmental-services/sustainable-communities.html) (SKC), [Sustainable Illawarra](http://www.sustainableillawarra.com.au/) (SI), Food and Biodiversity (F&B) projects and other Council approved sustainability initiatives
– provide advice on specific issues and problems related to the projects
– assist in the strategic direction of the projects
– review surveys, resources and information being incorporated into the projects
– provide advice and support to the project staff on project implementation
– review reports related to the projects
– ensure effective community input, collaboration and networking in relation to the projects
– to raise the profile of the SKC, SI and F&B projects in the wider Kiama community
OK, so some of the advising bits might be left more to the experts on the committee, but I think I have something to contribute in many of the other areas. I’ve got an engineering and technology background, and certainly the “raising the profile” bit is something I’ve been trying to do with this web site!
I think we have a really good mix of people with a wide range of skills, and we all share a similar motivation and interest in building a resilient, supportive and sustainable local community.
I’m looking forward to learning more about the projects currently underway and planned for the future. It’s nice to be able to share good news from a local council – especially in [this](http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/04/2179795.htm) [region](http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/shellharbour-is-latest-to-join-the-ranks-of-sacked-councils/2008/07/09/1215282928021.html)!