One of Sunshine Coast Council’s region-shaping projects – Blue Heart Sunshine Coast – has been awarded the Regional Innovation Project of the Year at the Cities Power Partnership (CPP) Climate Awards.
The innovation award seeks to uncover and celebrate transformative climate solutions and inspire other councils and levels of government to proactively manage the impacts of a changing climate.
Blue Heart Sunshine Coast is an area of more than 5,000 hectares within the Maroochy River floodplain.
The area is impacted by tidal inundation and, over time, is expected to continue transitioning from predominantly rural lands to estuarine wetlands due to climate change and projected sea level rise.
The Blue Heart project seeks to manage the land and water through this transition in a sustainable manner to provide opportunities for our environment, community and economy.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Blue Heart Sunshine Coast project was an innovative approach to secure opportunities for the future, consistent with council’s objectives in its Environment and Liveability Strategy.
“The Blue Heart project is just one of the fantastic examples of how our council works with its partners – which in this case, is the Department of Environment and Science and Unitywater – to take action to identify risks and help our community prepare for the impacts of a changing climate,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Blue Heart Sunshine Coast is an Australian-first project and one which seeks to provide environmental, social and economic co-benefits within the Maroochy River floodplain’s transitioning landscape.
“The Sunshine Coast, and our Blue Heart area in particular, is the ideal location to investigate carbon farming and blue carbon opportunities.
“The Blue Heart will support private landholders and the local community to adopt new land management practices that build future economic and environmental resilience, like blue carbon, while contributing to council’s net-zero emission target.
“Our Blue Heart partnership is a long-term commitment and one that will continue to grow and build momentum at a regional, national and international scale.”
Division 9 and Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said Blue Heart Sunshine Coast was a ground-breaking project and the national recognition through the CPP’s Regional Innovation Award was well deserved.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve already been able to achieve through the Blue Heart project,” Cr Suarez said.
“We’ve bought more land and dedicated it to conservation, rehabilitated waterways, facilitated a Blue Carbon research forum to investigate economic opportunities for private landholders and created community spaces like Unitywater’s Yandina Creek Wetland.
“And, this is only the beginning.
“Blue Heart Sunshine Coast is one of council’s five major green spaces that will contribute to the liveability and identity of our region and reinforce our vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.”