25 November 2016
Clean air loans likely next year
Gore residents may be able to access an interest-free loan scheme to install clean heating options.
The Gore District Council’s Policy and Finance committee this week recommended the Council administer Environment Southland’s clean air loan scheme free of charge. It also asked for a report into the potential for a low-interest loan scheme to assist with installing insulation.
Environment Southland has set aside $140,000 a year to help Gore residents replace their non-compliant burners or open fires with approved burners and heat pumps to meet the requirements of the Regional Air Plan.
The intention had been that the Council would match the funding; however, it was decided earlier this year not to provide financial assistance.
Gore District Council Chief Financial Officer Luke Blackbeard said administering the scheme would have little impact on Council resources.
“Given the maximum loan amount of $5,000, the scheme would see about 28 ratepayers benefit each year from clean heating installations.”
Most of the work for the Council would be at the time of application as staff would need to meet with the person to work through the loan approval process.
“If each application takes 30 minutes to process and approve, it would equate to about 14 hours of staff time a year, which is quite manageable with present resources,” Mr Blackbeard said.
There wouldn’t be much work required once an application was approved. People would be required to pay the loan by direct debit, which was the easiest method to administer and track, he said.
Environment Southland Director of Policy, Planning and Regulatory Services Vin Smith welcomed the recommendation.
“This is a significant step forward for both warmer homes and clean air for the community of Gore,” he said.
Awarua Synergy General Manager Sumaria Beaton said the company had received many enquiries from the Gore community since the scheme was launched in Invercargill.
“This is great news for Gore; we look forward to helping community members live in warmer, drier healthy homes,” she said.
The recommendation and report on a loan scheme for insulation will go the Council’s last meeting for the year on Tuesday 13 December.