Expanding our council’s conservation estate to more than 7000 hectares by securing more than 120 hectares of additional land, proactively planning for the impacts of climate change and being recognised for our sustainable practices are just a few of Sunshine Coast Council’s achievements in the 2019/20 environment and liveability report card.
Three annual reports – The Environment and Liveability Strategy Annual Report, Environment Levy Program Annual Report and Organisational Environmental Sustainability Benchmarking Annual Report – are now available to view online.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said that together, the reports provided a comprehensive overview of council’s leadership and actions to protect our outstanding natural environment and ensure the region remained an ideal location to live.
“Through the Environment and Liveability Strategy, our council is investing in sustainability initiatives, so our region remains a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“From strategic land acquisitions, to supporting our significant community conservation partnership programs, to delivering sustainability-focused events and the Living Smart Program, the breadth of council services that underpin our Environment and Liveability Strategy is extensive.
“As the Sunshine Coast population continues to grow, council is retaining and expanding our green spaces to contribute significantly to our liveability and provide space for conservation, flood management, rural production and sport and recreation opportunities.
“One of the most significant green spaces is our Blue Heart Sunshine Coast, an Australian-first project launched in July 2019 in partnership with Unitywater and the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science.
“Blue Heart Sunshine Coast is a region-shaping project.
“It will provide social, environmental and economic benefits, retain a focus on flood storage preservation and is responsive to the impacts of a changing climate.
“We are also continuing to invest in major sustainability and liveability initiatives which benefit our residents, including our work on the ‘Our Resilient Coast. Our Future’ project to help manage the impacts of coastal hazards and progressing a UNESCO Biosphere nomination for the Sunshine Coast.”
Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said these outcomes showcased another active year for council and the community, with the Environment Levy Program a key funding source to support collective efforts to implement the Environment and Liveability Strategy.
“The Environment Levy Program continues to deliver widespread benefits for our region’s natural environment,” Cr Suarez said.
“Council purchased conservation land, invested in projects to build our knowledge, and continued to restore land and riparian areas.
“Over the past four years council has collaborated with local landholders and other stakeholders to restore riparian areas along a 1.7 kilometre stretch of the Mary River.
“The positive impacts of the project are already evident with planted trees and shrubs thriving and providing habitat for native species as well as stabilising the previously eroded sites.
“We certainly owe our thanks to the network of volunteers and partnership groups as they go hand-in-hand with council’s efforts to preserve and maintain our natural environment.
“For example, many landholders participate in Voluntary Conservation Agreements and Land for Wildlife and receive Landholder Environment Grants to protect bushland areas under private ownership.”
Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox said council was continually making sustainable choices and working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and the Organisational Environmental Sustainability Benchmarking Annual Report provided a guide to track our progress.
“This year EarthCheck, the world’s leading scientific benchmarking certification and advisory group for travel and tourism, recognised council’s Venue 114 at Bokarina for its sustainability commitment,” Cr Cox said.
“Venue 114 is council’s first facility to earn this status. By embedding sustainability and resilience outcomes into council systems and processes, infrastructure and facilities, and services, we are demonstrating leadership in this area and look forward to rolling out these types of sustainability measures at other locations where possible.
“Another impressive sustainability initiative implemented during the 2019/20 financial year involved repurposing old tyres to create crumb rubber that was added into bitumen used to build our roads.
“The crumb rubber makes asphalt more elastic, resulting in improved flexibility and road surface strength, and diverting tyres from landfill reduces greenhouse gas emissions. A great result all round.”
To discover projects happening in your area and to view the annual reports head to els.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au