The end of Ecofest

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Ecofest has been canned by the Nelson City Council, saying that it “preaches to the converted”.

The council said today that it will focus on targeted sustainable information and educational initiatives throughout the year, rather than host a stand-alone Ecofest event in 2015.

The Planning and Regulatory Committee today agreed to re-allocate the Ecofest budget of $30,000 and staff time towards environmental activities and promotion within the community.

Planning and Regulatory Committee chair Brian McGurk says the idea is to take Ecofest into the community rather than expecting the community to come to Ecofest.

“We want to encourage effective environmental stewardship and sustainable behaviour change by moving to new activities that can have measurably better outcomes for Nelson residents and the local environment.

“This decision is much more in line with what Nelson 2060 is all about. It’s about mainstreaming what it means to be green and getting people to take small steps every day.”

Nelson 2060 is Nelson’s sustainability strategy; it comes from the community and focuses on developing a healthy, prosperous and happy Nelson over the next fifty years.

Councillor McGurk said Ecofest had been a valuable platform to engage with the community on sustainable issues in the past. However, declining visitor numbers, increasing costs and difficulties measuring the environmental gains of the event meant it was time to look at new ways to effectively deliver environmental messages.

“Unfortunately Ecofest tends to preach to the converted. Last year, only 37 per cent were first-time visitors to Ecofest. We’re keen to take a much more holistic approach to sustainability that engages with all sectors of the community.”