Purchasing more than 100 hectares of land for conservation and recreation, managing coastal hazards, progressing a biosphere nomination and reducing reliance on electricity, fuel and water are just a few of Sunshine Coast Council’s achievements this year.
These initiatives and many more showcase another active year by council in its efforts to preserve and enhance the environment and liveability of our Sunshine Coast.
Three reports adopted by council today (19 September) at its Ordinary Meeting include the region’s Environment and Liveability Strategy Annual Report, Environment Levy Program Annual Report and Organisational Environmental Sustainability Benchmarking Annual Report.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said that together, the reports provide a comprehensive overview of how council is demonstrating its forward-thinking and real actions to protect our outstanding natural environment and ensure the region remains an ideal location in which to live.
“Through the Environment and Liveability Strategy, our council is investing in programs such as the Environment Levy and council’s own sustainability initiatives, so our region remains a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“From securing more than 100 hectares of new land for conservation and recreation purposes, to supporting one of the largest Land for Wildlife programs in the nation, to delivering sustainability focused community events and the Living Smart Program, the breadth of council services that underpin our Environment and Liveability Strategy is extensive.
“Last year, in a Queensland first, council delivered a Disaster Resilience Plan to enhance the safety of our community in times of need.
“The events of the last week with the bush fire emergency in northern Sunshine Coast communities have highlighted the importance of disaster resilience for our community.
“We also launched the Adventure Sunshine Coast website, to connect people with nature by making it easier for the community to find free, self-guided walking, cycling, mountain biking, horse riding and canoeing activities.
“Council has maintained its focus on great places and spaces by opening the vibrant Baringa Community Centre.
“We are also continuing our investment in major sustainability and liveability initiatives for the benefit of residents across our region, including our work on the ‘Our Resilient Coast. Our Future’ program to help manage the impacts of coastal hazards and consideration of a UNESCO Biosphere nomination.”
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the Environment and Liveability Strategy was delivering a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast, with the Environment Levy Program a key funding source to pursue this vision and critical to the strategy’s success.
“There has been a considerable body of work delivered over the past 12 months thanks to the Environment Levy Program, which will deliver widespread benefits across our region,” Cr McKay said.
“Council purchased land for conservation, invested in projects to build our knowledge, and continued to restore land and riparian areas.
“We certainly owe our thanks to the network of volunteers and partnership groups.
“They magnify and extend our reach and efforts to preserve and maintain our natural environment.”
The final report endorsed at the Ordinary Meeting (19 September) was council’s own Organisational Environmental and Sustainability Benchmarking Annual Report.
This report documents council’s resource usage and sustainability journey, including becoming a zero-net emissions organisation by 2041.
Mayor Jamieson said council was constantly working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“Over the past 12 months, we’ve reduced our reliance on electricity, fuel and water and have reduced the amount of waste council takes to landfill – which is great news,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm continues to generate renewable energy and produced cost savings of $429,000.
“We’ve also seen an increase in the number of council staff participating in sustainability-focussed programs.
“This year, we’ve identified that waste is an area where council and the community need to work together to be more resourceful.
“It’s important that as our population grows, residents and businesses remember to reduce, reuse and recycle.
“To help the community reduce their waste, council will provide further education and events to help residents along their sustainability journey.
“Overall, council – as an organisation – has seen greenhouse gas emission reductions across many areas of our operations.
“Although we acknowledge it will take time for these changes to scale-up, we’re confident council is on the right track with the systems and policies outlined through our Environment and Liveability Strategy.”
To view a copy of the annual reports visit sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
Image: S Williams