THE Colac Otway Shire is redirecting funds toward energy efficiency upgrades at council facilities to reduce energy costs as part of its plan to be carbon neutral by 2020.
The council will allocate $100,000 from the Main Road Street Lighting Upgrade Project to deliver energy-saving measures at council facilities including the Rae Street Civic Precinct, COPACC and Bluewater Leisure Centre.
Reallocation of the funds was recommended largely due to the opportunity to match the $100,000 with funding from Sustainability Victoria through the Local Government Energy Saver program.
The Main Roads Street Lights Upgrade Project was to continue replacement of residential street lights to LED. This started in 2014 with federal government funding through the Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP).
The shire spent $389,719 toward the overall CEEP cost of $669,329 to replace 1,414 street lights across the shire. However, as there was no external funding, the council estimated it would require an extra $70,000 beyond the budgeted $100,000 to complete the project.
Shire mayor Jason Schram said the energy saving measures at key council facilities would provide the council with savings of about 20 to 30 per cent.
“On this basis, it’s anticipated the energy saving measures at council facilities will be paid off in approximately five years, whereas it’d be more like 11 years to pay back the Main Road Lighting Upgrade Project.
“By delaying the Main Road Lighting Upgrade Project we hope to forge stronger alliances with other Great South Coast and the G21 councils who are keen to also partake in the upgrade program. This collaboration will see a better outcome for Council in the long run.
“The Lighting Upgrade Project remains a Priority Project for Council and is included in Council’s advocacy program. We will continue to work with our neighbouring councils in advocating to state and federal government to try and reduce the amount Council has to spend and also improve the return on Council’s investment.”