Installing NSW’s first charging station network for electric cars, using young “waste warriors” to champion organic waste domestic bins and planting trees to lower the heat of a town centre are among initiatives in the running for this year’s Local Government NSW’s (LGNSW) Excellence in the Environment Awards.
LGNSW President Linda Scott said finalists for the awards, which celebrate council programs, projects and people making a demonstrable difference to the environment, were announced this week.
“These awards are now in their 22nd year and prove that local councils and their communities across NSW lead the way in protecting and improving the state’s unique and varied environment,” Cr Scott said.
“NSW councils are best placed to come up with clever and cost-effective solutions to environmental issues since they intimately understand local issues, are most connected with their communities and are often forced to stretch their dollars the furthest.
“This year we have 39 finalists across 16 award categories, demonstrating once again just how passionate councils are about the environment and how much work is being done at a local government level.”
Cr Scott said the awards recognise council achievements across a range of environmental issues, including sustainability, climate change adaption, innovative planning and policy, invasive pest management, educating communities and greenhouse gas emission reduction initiatives.
Among this year’s finalists:
- Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick councils, which have banded together to install Sydney’s first public electric vehicle (EV) charging network. The network provides seven charging stations in key areas across the region to make it ‘EV-ready’ and are powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.
- Bega Valley Shire Council’s introduction of a FOGO (food organics garden organics) bin and engagement of young people, dubbed ‘Bega Valley Waste Warriors’, to educate local people on the bin’s use and the need to divert waste from landfill.
- Dubbo Regional Council’s Heat Island Amelioration project to lower the temperature of the CBD and create more shady areas by planting Japanese Elms in specially designed tree pits in the parts of the road that collect stormwater.
- Sutherland Shire Council’s solution to its notoriously odorous Carina Creek by creating cost-effective channels that have reduced the smell by improving the water flow and creek health.
- Wollongong City Council’s Operation Nappy campaign, which aims to reduce the number of disposable nappies that end up in landfill by educating new and expectant parents on the benefits of cloth nappies and providing a free cloth nappy sample.
- Lockhart Shire Council’s commitment to use recycled crushed glass blended with local quarry material as road base in construction projects. The initiative reduces stockpiles of crushed glass at the local recycling facility and extends the life of council’s quarry by up to seven years.
“I congratulate the finalists of this year’s awards and thank every council that made submissions,” Cr Scott said.
“The quantity and quality of submissions and finalists underline the commitment our councils have to sustaining our environment.
“They are initiatives LGNSW fully supports, not just through these awards but providing advocacy on behalf of councils across the state. Our Save Our Recycling campaign is another example of ways we are putting our weight behind councils’ environmental efforts.
“The campaign calls on government to reinvest the $770 million waste levy it collects annually to fund development of council-led regional waste and resource recovery plans, fund infrastructure bought by local government to deliver those plans, buy more locally recycled products and pay for a badly needed statewide recycling education campaign.”