Upwards of 150 people, dressed in red, were at the Town Hall for Wednesday May 19 vote and erupted into applause as it was passed by four of the five Councillors - with Cr Donnie Grigau abstaining.
The ambitious plan includes three key targets and some 49 separate actions to achieve them.
Mayor Ross Ebbels described the CERP’s adoption as a watershed moment that cemented the Borough as a climate response leader within the region.
“Our voice may be small, but it is certainly loud,” he told the meeting. “We know business as usual no longer applies, not just to us but the whole country, and to a certain degree, the whole world.
“It’s nights like this that remind us of why we live where we do,” Cr Ebbels said.
The CERP, largely driven by the Queenscliff Climate Action Group (QCAG), followed the Borough's declaration in December 2019 of a climate emergency and according to the Council, builds on existing actions to reduce climate impacts.
“The community backing for action on climate change is profound and unmistakable,” said Cr Fleur Hewitt. “The CERP is a result of the blood, sweat and tears of many in our community.
“The commitment and connectedness across the community to affect change and implement the actions within the plan is breathtaking.
“This is truly a community-led and community-owned initiative and a legacy for generations to come,” she said.
The CERP’s three key targets include:
Community electricity consumption to be matched by a 100% renewable electricity supply by 2025,
Community energy needs to be matched by a renewable energy supply by 2027, and
The community will transition to zero carbon emissions by 2031.
The Council has earmarked $150,000 in its 2021-22 Budget for initial actions, including installation of two electric vehicle chargers, but has conceded many are reliant on securing external grants.
A detailed Implementation Plan will be prepared within the next six months.
Councillor Michael Grout said the CERP’s success relied on the community playing its part.
“We do have some control and therefore, responsibility over our own fate and this plan is about how we live our lives and how we move about and how we consume.
“For each of us, the challenge is to change our mindsets and change our behaviour and so leave smaller footprints,” he said.
“We need to do this for the children here tonight… so we leave our community as better and more thoughtful place,” added Cr Susan Salter.
Continuing covid restrictions meant only 80 people could be inside the Town Hall to witness the vote. Upwards of 50 more waited outside for the outcome.
Addressing the gathering, an ecstatic QCAG spokesperson Kitty Walker praised the Council and urged the broader community to “come on board.”
“[Council] created a plan for us, with us.Their plan is our plan and now the really, really hard work begins.
“We have a roadmap to get us to be a zero carbon community in a decade, but we cannot do it without everyone jumping on board,” Ms Walker said.
“I got such an amazing sense when the community consultation was out on just how many community organisations are ready to go. Everyone’s ready to roll up their sleeves… it doesn’t end now, it begins now.”