The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm, which was officially switched on in July, has been recognised with a major award at the 2017 Planning Institute of Australia Awards for Planning Excellence (Queensland).
The PIA Awards recognise individuals, companies, community groups and public sector agencies for their innovation, leadership and excellence in the Queensland planning profession.
They showcase the high quality of planning occurring in Queensland by Queenslanders and stimulate public awareness of outstanding projects.
The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm project won the Wendy Chadwick Encouragement Award for being innovative and showing the greatest promise of achieving the vision of excellence in Queensland.
The judging panel felt the project “showcases how local governments can actively lead energy projects, and not leave the energy debate to the Commonwealth and State governments alone”.
Sunshine Coast Council is the first local government in Australia to build a utility scale solar farm and it is the first of its kind in South East Queensland to be connected to the Energex grid.
Sunshine Coast Council was nominated in three of 10 PIA Awards categories and received two commendations.
The multi award-winning Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Rainforest Discovery Centre won a commendation in the category for Best Planning Ideas - Small Project.
The panel noted the centre’s “originality and innovation, and the community involvement and respect for indigenous values that went into developing the centre” that was officially opened in February.
Sunshine Coast Council and Townsville City Council led a collaboration of 14 Technology One councils to win a commendation in the category for Improving Planning Processes & Practices through their project “Queensland Planning Legislation - Collaboration of Queensland Councils Technology One Property And Rating Councils”.
The collaborative approach has facilitated the implementation of a consistent system that responds to the new planning legislation and provides 14 councils with the ability to calculate, track and report on application assessment timeframes.
The project was awarded with a commendation for its “over and above” approach to collaboration between councils.
The winners’ commemorative e-book is now available with full details of commendation and excellence winners - https://www.planning.org.au/documents/item/8787