Brogo Dam LifeSaving Energy Big Swim

The first of the LifeSaving Energy Big Swims for 2009 will be held in the Brogo Dam on 8/2/09. This swim will be a fundraiser for a 2Kw solar panel system for the St Johns Church in Bega.

The swim will start at 0830 on the morning of Sunday 8/2/09, and a pre race briefing will be held at 0730 hrs.The swim starts at the boat ramp at Brogo Dam and will be a 6km swim to the end of the Dam and back. Swimmers must be accompanied by a paddler, and relay teams are permitted. Entry fee is by donation, and we are hoping to raise $12 500 for the solar photovoltaic cells for the church.

If anyone is interested in sponsoring a swimmer or making a donation, they can contact Matthew Nott on 64923277, or Reverend Chris Short at the St Johns Church. We are also holding a raffle with first prize a beautiful electric powered mountain bike valued at $1500. Second prize is a second hand Victa lawn mower that has hardly been used, and is worth $700. Third prize is a free lifetime membership to St Johns Church. Further prizes are likely to added to the draw over the next couple of months, and CEFE would love to hear from anyone that could donate a prize for the raffle. Tickets are $5 each, and the raffle will be drawn at the end of the LifeSaving Energy Big Swim series on the June long weekend. St Johns Church will be holding a cake and produce stall at the Tathra Newsagents next Sunday from 830 am until 1130 to help raise money for the solar panels.

The water will be warm, although wet suits are permitted. This is a magnificent and unique swim through the bush, and a St Johns service will be held at the dam on the day. The plan is to make the Brogo swim an annual event, and I would be interested to hear from any community groups that may wish to use this event to raise money for solar panels for their organisation next year.

Image_Jan09_schoolOn another note, last year, the Bega River LifeSaving Energy Big Swim made $10 000 for a wind turbine for the Tathra Primary School. The quote has gone up to $14 000 so CEFE will need to find another $4000 for the installation. If any of the 2009 LifeSaving Energy Big Swims make more money than is needed, that money will be directed to the Tatthra Primary School. CEFE will also look at a fund raising bike ride at Manor Park sometime in March to raise the additional $4000. The Tathra Wharf to Waves committee have generously donated $200 to CEFE after another blisteringly successful Tathra weekend, and that money will be put towards the wind turbine for the Tathra Primary School.

Finally, in addition to the 6 planned LifeSaving Energy Big Swims for SE NSW, CEFE are organising a swim in Lake Burley Griffin on 9/3/09 to raise money for solar panels for The Lodge. 2009 promises to be a big year for anyone in our part of the world interested in long distance swimming.
Matthew Nott

Wind turbines for Primary Schools

Nimmitabel Primary school has the money ready to pay for a wind turbine for the school. When the turbine is installed, it will not cost the Dept of Education a cent; the electricity it generates will save the school a considerable amount of money in electricty bills. The turbine will be built to Australian safety standards; I am not aware of any safety issues associated with wind turbines.

At the eleventh hour the dept of Education pulled the pin on the approval of the Nimmitabel wind turbine. An asset manager in the Dept of Education in Batemans Bay had heard a rumour that a wind turbine somewhere had once fallen down. He therefore raised concerns over the safety of the turbine, and the installation was put on hold.

Since then, the discussion over the Nimmtabel wind turbine has gone to the highest level. In question time in State Parliament a request was made for information about the fallen turbine. No record of a fallen turbine could be found.

Further safety concerns were then raised. It was thought that children may be able to climb the tower, and injure themselves either by falling, or getting caught in the spinning blades. It was pointed out that the tower for the turbine is like a light pole, and impossible to climb.

This is new ground for the Dept of Education in NSW. It is fair enough that they need to proceed with some caution, and look at all the safety issues. Certainly, safety has to be the number one priority for the department, but I am confident that the safety issues can be sorted out. Wind turbines are safe, and comply with rigorous standards.

Currently we are awaiting approval from the Dept of Education Director-General, Michael Couttes-Trotter, and whilst I feel that the whole process is taking too long, I am optimistic that we will get there. This has to be done right, because it will set a precedent for other schools in NSW.

Tathra Primary school has $10 000 put away for a wind turbine for its school after a fund raising swim last year. We need another $4000 for the installation, and plan a fund raising mountain bike ride in the near future to raise the remaining money. We will wait with baited breath for the Department of Education’s decision regarding the Nimmitabel wind turbine. I’m sure that things will proceed in the right direction, and I hope that the Department of Education will see this as an opportunity to show leadership on climate change.

Many schools across the world have wind turbines reducing their electricity bills. It is time for SE NSW to catch up. Our region is striving to lead

Matthew Nott