Council adopts LED street lighting technology

Cessnock Liberals support the introduction of LED street light technology.

Cessnock City Council adopted LED street lighting across the LGA as from the 17 of October council meeting and will progressively replace 2,013 street lights.
As far back as 2011 discussions were taking place on how to lower the council street lighting power costs. LED technology was in its infancy back then but the people who were part of the Kurri Kurri 2030 futures development committee recognized the need and placed it as one of their Top 10 priorities to have low energy lighting installed by the year 2030.
Over the ensuring years various organizations showed off their technology in Kurri Kurri and to council staff including the City Mayor.
Smaller communities across Australia and New Zealand began adopting the technology with instant savings on power and maintenance.
The small council district of Kaipara in NZ replaced 1400 street lights with LEDs resulting in a 70% saving on power and significant savings on maintenance
In WA, the Lighting the West project is a partnership between Wyndham City, Moonee Valley, Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay to bring sustainable street lighting to the west.
In 2015 as part of the project, over 26,000 80W mercury vapour street lights have been changed to energy efficient technology across the municipalities. Across the four Councils, this will result in 176,117 tonnes reduction in equivalent carbon dioxide emissions over 20 years and a $1.4 million saving in 2015 alone.
The biggest LED street light replacement project is in NSW, Light Years Ahead, has come to an end with the last light installed in March 2016
Crews installed 13,951 LED street lights across Western Sydney – 951 extra lights than originally forecasted. Final reporting is underway and Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), who is coordinating the project, is investigating options for additional lights.
Nine Western Sydney councils have been working on this collaborative street lighting project since 2014. Councils involved in the project are Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Hills Shire, Holroyd, Liverpool, Parramatta and Penrith. The project is estimated to save the participating councils $20 million and 74,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over 20 years. The $20 million savings are significant as street lighting makes up around 55% of councils’ energy costs.

In Cessnock, Ausgrid owns and maintains 5,049 street lights within the Cessnock LGA for which Council pays maintenance and electricity costs. These lights include 2,013 pre 2009 lights on residential streets that can be cost effectively replaced by newer, more efficient and more reliable LED’s. The proposed street lighting replacement project has a positive payback with the overall project paying for itself in approximately 7 years. There are also positive environmental and community benefits from the project.

My say

Why does Kurri Kurri Exist (My say)

It was 47 years ago last May that I had my first taste of the Coalfields, in particular Kurri Kurri.
As a young Ambulance Officer with the NSW Ambulance Service, I was transferred to Maitland Ambulance Station to work.
In those days and as far back as the founding of Kurri Kurri in 1902, Kurri Kurri’s roots were historically linked to the Maitland Community.
It is interesting to note that there has always been conflict or competition between Cessnock and Kurri Kurri, with most folklore blaming the two warring coalfields Rugby League sides for the animosity.
I reject this theory as my own research indicates that Kurri Kurri was founded by demands placed upon the government of the day back in 1901, by residents of the villages surrounding today’s township, namely Stanford Merthyr, Pelaw Main and Heddon Greta emanating from the East Greta Coal Seam.
The town was surveyed by the Maitland Lands Board as a new “Crown Town“. The original council met in the East Maitland Courthouse before council chambers were even considered in Kurri Kurri. Most business transactions were directed to Maitland, as was the continued development of the East Greta coal seam and the railway line.
In 1906 the Kurri Kurri Shire was amalgamated with Tarro Shire. It wasn’t until many years after the establishment of the township, that it was eventually amalgamated with Kearsley Shire ( the only communist council in Australia) thereby linking Kurri Kurri to the Cessnock community for the first time. The resultant Rugby League duels are probably the result of the two tribes venting their frustration to forced shire boundary changes.
My move to Kurri Kurri came about as a direct result of extremely cheap Real estate in the area. From 1966 onwards the once prosperous coal mines were closing down leaving the town with very high unemployment.
The opening of the John Renshaw Drive in the mid 60’s directly linked Kurri Kurri to Newcastle reducing the travelling time by more than 15 minutes.
This allowed many retrenched coal miners access to the BHP workforce of the late 60’s and 70’s.
It wasn’t until the establishment of the Alcan Smelter in 1969 and textile factories in Kurri Kurri that the economy of the town looked secure once again.
During those days I searched the lower Hunter for a low cost home. Cheap homes in Maitland ranged from $10-15 thousand dollars, land prices were around $5,000 while in Kurri Kurri you could purchase a reasonable old mining cottage for around $5,000 and land for the council rates owing on them.
I purchased my 1st home in Kurri Kurri in October 1971.
At last the great day arrived. I had sold my house by the sea at Dudley and moved to the wonderful little country town in the Lower Hunter, Kurri Kurri.
They say Kurri Kurri means “The Very First”. Well it was the very first time I experienced a super hot October westerly. As we moved into town the local bush was ablaze with spring bushfires and being hurried along by one of Kurri Kurri’s now famous westerly blasts.
My family said to me, why did you leave Dudley to come to this hell hole, the roads here are next to nothing, there is no curb and guttering, no city support services? They asked “What does this town have to offer a young family”?
I couldn’t answer their questions in those days, but over the next eight years I was to settle into a community with strength of character I had not witnessed in Newcastle.
Over the past 44 years the fights to save Kurri Kurri Hospital are legendary,
Kurri Rugby League team rose to be number one in the Hunter Valley with three Premierships and the town’s elevation to No. 1 town in NSW under the Tidy Town banner in 1993 cemented my loyalty to the town.
During the last 47 years of slow progress, approximately 10% more of town was curbed and guttered. Victoria Street and Mitchell Avenue became four lane roads and the shopping precinct at last took the shape of a regional shopping centre, and the now famous Murals commenced appearing in 2002. Our town is now on the world mural town maps.
Kurri Kurri exists today because of the fighting spirit of the early pioneers and the new resident’s determination to see improvements in the town.
The town today is still controlled by outside influences that don’t have a vested interest in the town’s future.
Coal property, crown land and environmental reserves surround the town stifling development for future housing and indirectly restricting the advancement of the business district.
With the recent upgrades of roads to Maitland, Newcastle and the Hunter Expressway to Newcastle and Sydney, Kurri Kurri can look forward to future prosperity not only in domestic housing opportunities but also in business development.
The history of Kurri Kurri is steeped in political one sidedness where the people of the Kurri Kurri community have been used to shore up Federal, State and local government politics. It is a credit to the strength of the community that this political posturing hasn’t turned the town into a ghost town like other mining communities.
Kurri Kurri exists because of a strong community spirit, strengths that many people in the community take for granted these days. It was genetically implanted in families by the original miners of the area. Scots, Welsh, Geordies and Irish. These families lived in an era when every penny earned and every little bit of progress had to hard won.
I am proud of the fact that I moved to Kurri Kurri in 1971 and then in 1984 built a new home.
Kurri Kurri had in the 1980’s close to 1,000 women working in the textile industry, 60% of the male population working in the coal industry while the rest worked for Alcan and Newcastle industries.
These days the textile industry has moved on leaving few opportunities for women.
Newcastle industry has downsized the coal companies have moved west, HYDRO has closed; with Wine Country, Rutherford and Beresfield/Thornton industrial precincts providing any future job opportunities at present.
Kurri Kurri’s future lies in the development of residential areas (1800 home sites under development), and new industrial development to support future job opportunities. Kurri Kurri’s political leaders, business leaders and community leaders must work together so that the future of Kurri Kurri is as secure as it was back in the days when Richmond Main Colliery alone had 1200 employees.
Kurri Kurri will continue to grow into the 21st Century but as a vastly different community to that which we have lived in and known for the past 116 Years.