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ARRIVING to the interview, helmet in hand, Dale Curtis has been riding his bike to work for the past 25 years.
“I get around everywhere on my bike,” Mr Curtis said.
“Even when I lived 20 kilometres out of town I used to ride my bike to work three times a week.
“I just enjoy it, you’re out in the fresh air, you’re not polluting and it’s very convenient – I don’t have to find a park anywhere, I just pull up wherever I go.”
Mr Curtis is the latest candidate to announce he will stand in the Armidale Regional Council election.
All about sustainability, he would like to see Armidale become one of the first regional cities to embrace zero-net energy use.
The model would be similar to ZNet in Uralla, that encourages the community to transition to 100 per cent renewable energy for homes and businesses.
“The spin-offs from those type of industry are enormous,” Mr Curtis said.
“Socially, financially, there’s long term job creation and retention, with a long term aim of making Armidale zero-net energy consumption.
“I think there’s enough willpower out there, systems have been in place for many years now to try and make this happen.
“We’re in an ideal place, we’ve got sun, wind and plenty of space – I don’t see it as something that Armidale is too big to do.”
Growing up involved in agriculture, Mr Curtis would like to see Armidale embrace smarter, sustainable farming models.
“We’ve stripped our land way too bare,” he said.
“I can claim to be a culprit of that – I grew up on the land, my father was a heavy clearer, but later on I saw that we were going completely in the wrong direction.”
Community driven regeneration projects, tree planting and smart farming are all ideas he would like to bring to the table on Council.
“I’d like Armidale to be a shining example on the Australian map that this is what you can do energy-wise in a community,” Mr Curtis said. “I want Council to be more supportive of the community, not just tell people what’s going to happen.”