Sustainable Cities 2014

SUSTAINABLE CITY OF THE YEAR 2014
CITY OF BRIMBANK

The City of Brimbank has established itself as a leading example of a local government that takes pride in its appearance and people, implementing a range of engaging and successful sustainability initiatives. Located in north west Melbourne, Brimbank is one of Victoria’s most culturally diverse municipalities, having embraced more than 156 nationalities from around the globe. Brimbank understands the importance of being a sustainable city, from an environmental perspective and also an economic and social one. Brimbank’s sustainability policy and strategies are guided by its Sustainability Framework and a set of individual environmental strategies that cover waste minimisation, greenhouse emissions reduction, sustainable water and biodiversity. A key priority of the council is engaging and educating the diverse community so it can enjoy a sustainable lifestyle. The council’s environment and community planning and development teams collaborate to implement initiatives such as Brimbank’s successful Sustainable Living Expo. The 2014 Expo provided residents with workshops and hands-on activities to learn how to conserve water and energy, and reduce waste to landfill. TV gardeners and sustainability advocates Costa Georgiadis and Vasili Kanidiadis conducted well-attended workshops on sustainable growing and preparation of home grown food. Brimbank’s rapid growth in housing and industry has left areas of indigenous grasslands and herbs severely threatened and increasingly fragmented. These grasslands are critical to the survival of native wildlife and the control of weeds. With the assistance of ‘Friends of’ groups and local volunteers, the City of Brimbank implemented a program to collect seed over a three year period. In 2013, the seed was propagated and planted and will continue to be used by council for planting in the local area. Brimbank’s sustainability team has also worked with teachers from more than 70 schools in the council area over a 12 month period to produce a set of resources to help teachers to include sustainability in the curriculum. The resources cover five key topics – water, energy, waste & recycling, biodiversity and sustainable systems – and are tailored for each level of primary school, with the potential to adapt for high school. In 2011, Brimbank established a program called ‘Gems’ to improve household recycling. The program was a great success and was expanded in 2013 to further reduce contamination in recycling bins. The council’s environmental team led the project, engaging many other departments to work together to reinvigorate the program. A grant was obtained to assist in the purchase of materials and delivery of the program. Gems has succeeded in positively engaging the community on correct recycling procedures, and achieved a significant reduction in contamination.

CLEAN BEACHES/ WATERWAYS
PORT PHILLIP ECOCENTRE
YARRA PLUME AND SEASTAR MANAGEMENT PROJECTS

Port Phillip EcoCentre has played a strong role improving the health of Port Phillip Bay by mobilising communities and driving initiatives to address issues associated with pollution and pests. The EcoCentre has driven programs to raise awareness of water quality issues, empower communities to take action to protect local habitats of native species, and facilitate greater collaboration between key community groups. The EcoCentre’s Yarra Plume project has delivered a range of community and school education activities to encourage participation in initiatives to protect local aquatic habitats. The development of the Best Practice Guidelines for Community Removal of Northern Pacific Seastar in Port Phillip Bay is another example of an initiative that aims to mobilise communities to act to protect local habitats of native species where seastar infestation has occurred. A coalition of community groups and eco-tour operators will continue with a program to engage local schools, the community and volunteer groups to remove pest seastars from sites in the Port Phillip Bay.

COMMUNITY ACTION AND LEADERSHIP
BRIMBANK CITY COUNCIL
COMMUNITY BASED SUSTAINABLE LEARNING

When Brimbank City Council identified a gap in the community’s knowledge around sustainability and the natural environment, it set about implementing a range of programs to engage and inform the community. Brimbank leveraged its five libraries – which attract more than 160,000 people each month and provide an online service – as a platform for education on sustainable living. Members were encouraged to borrow household Energy Saver Kits and explore the growing collection of books on sustainable living and the natural environment. The Brimbank Sustainable Living Workshop series delivered events at community centres and libraries focused on increasing sustainability in the home. Over 400 attendees learnt about topics including raising chickens, composting, recycling and waste management, preserving fruit, energy efficiency, water efficiency and others. Brimbank’s Sustainable Living Expo aims to empower communities to take action in their homes. The 2014 Expo was a great success with around 800 people attending and exploring exhibits including community gardens, short educational workshops and hands-on demonstrations.

HIGHLY COMMENDED         
CITY OF BOROONDARA
LIVING FOR OUR FUTURE

 

COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIPS
THE CITY OF MONASH
CREATING CLAYTON’S LANEWAYS

The City of Monash developed the Strengthening Clayton Community Action Plan in collaboration with the local community to address poor perceptions of safety around the Clayton shopping precinct. Development of the plan involved widespread community engagement and input, including consultation with local residents, traders, police, and council. Safety and amenity were highlighted as key issues, and as a result the Creating Clayton’s Laneways project was established to redevelop Thomas St laneway. The Thomas St laneway is an important thoroughfare in Clayton, providing access to the shopping strip and Clayton’s major activity centre. However, local residents were concerned about safety in the area. The Creating Clayton’s Laneways project involved the redevelopment of Thomas St laneway, informed by design principles to reduce crime as well as actual and perceived safety. Lighting and visual appeal were addressed in the new design, and pedestrians provided with clear sightlines and well-defined walking paths. The number of pedestrians using the new public space and laneway has increased significantly since the redevelopment, with people reporting that they feel safer.

CULTURAL HERITAGE
MELTON FAMILY HISTORY GROUP
REVEALING AND CELEBRATING OUR COMMUNITY HISTORY

Since 1995, the Melton Family History Group has assisted the community in Melton research local and family history, uncovering a wealth of previously unknown local records. Recently, researching family history has become more convenient with the addition of a specially designed area at Melton Library. Computers, an extensive microfiche and CD ROM collection, and a range of books have been made available. The group is undertaking a digitisation project scanning numerous documents and photos into electronic form. The Melton Family History Group provided members of the public with access to information and a research service as part of Anzac Day celebrations. The group has applied for a grant to create a website focused on Melton’s World War 1 history. The Melton community has learnt much about its history from this dedicated group.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
MELTON CITY COUNCIL
GREEN STARS SHINE AT THE MELTON LIBRARY

The Melton Library and Learning Hub was the first library in Australia to achieve a 5 Star Green Public Building Design PILOT rating when it opened in June 2013. The building features sustainable design and energy efficiency to minimise energy costs, as well as extensive use of sustainable and recycled building materials. During construction, 92 percent of the old library demolition waste and 80% of construction waste was recycled. In a world first, a green concrete called E-crete was used in the façade construction. PV panels and solar thermal collectors generate more than 18,000kWh of the library’s annual power, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45%. Water sensitive urban design principles were factored into the design of the surrounding landscape and car park, and the roof captures 844,000 litres of rainwater annually which is used for toilets and irrigation. The library has been designed to meet the needs of current residents with the capacity to cater for rapid future growth.

HIGHLY COMMENDED
MONASH PERMACULTURE

 

LITTER PREVENTION
EARTHWATCH AUSTRALIA
TEACHWILD

TeachWild is a national three-year marine debris research and education program led by CSIRO and university scientists. It provides teachers, students and Shell employees with the opportunity to gain first hand exposure to the issue of marine debris. The program builds knowledge and skills around ocean health issues, while addressing risks associated with the impact of marine debris on local populations of threatened turtles, seabirds and other marine wildlife. Teachers are equipped to develop educational resources and field trips to teach students about the issue of litter on our beaches, and the effects on marine life. The aim is to instil a responsible attitude to waste disposal among students, and encourage them to become advocates for litter prevention. Over 5,668 students and 161 teachers and corporate employees have now participated in marine survey activities with data entered into the National Marine Debris database. This information can assist state governments and coastal councils formulate policies and practices.

HIGHLY COMMENDED
CHURCH OF GOD WORLD MISSION SOCIETY INC.
CLEANING CAMPAIGN AT GREENVALE RESERVOIR PARK

 

PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
PINKERTON LANDCARE & ENVIRONMENT GROUP (PLEG), WESTERN WATER AND MELTON CITY COUNCIL

A Gorgeous Outdoor Classroom on the Werribee River. Since 2005, Pinkerton Landcare & Environment Group and Western Water have restored three kilometres of the Werribee River Volcanic Gorge from the Toolern Creek to Pinkerton Flat. A beautiful piece of countryside is being restored to its former glory and wildlife corridors are being enhanced, providing habitat for resident and migratory bird and animal species. Weeding and indigenous revegetation is restoring the gorge’s biodiversity with platypus and wedge-tailed eagle habitat. The gorge is used to educate local landowners and members of the public about the natural values of the area and tackling revegetation and weed issues on their own properties. In 2013, a community event held in conjunction with Western Water and Melbourne Water was well attended. The Werribee River was the border between the Wathaurung people who lived to the west of the river and the Wurundjeri people to the east of the river. Aboriginal values along the gorge are described on the interpretive walks.

HIGHLY COMMENDED
CITY OF BOROONDARA     

 

INTEGRATING AND CELEBRATING HABITAT AND WILDLIFE WITHIN OUR CITY
BRIMBANK CITY COUNCIL  
SOWING THE SEED TO SAVE OUR LOCAL SPECIES

 

RESOURCE RECOVERY AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
BRIMBANK CITY COUNCIL
RECYCLE RIGHT IN EVERYDAY LIFE

Brimbank’s ‘Gems’ campaign was developed by the Brimbank Environmental Education team to urge the community to recycle right, putting only the correct items into the recycling bin. The program benefited from engagement across various council departments and a grant provided by Metro Waste Management Group to create materials and expand the program reach. The program commenced in 2011 and was further developed in 2013. The new phase incorporated stronger messages around plastic bags, film and wrap. New communications included fold out fridge calendars and brochures. Auditing of residential bins was conducted, rewarding those who were found to be good recyclers. More than 12,000 properties were visited and bins assessed with perfect recyclers receiving a Brimbank Gems sticker placed on their bin. Those who had incorrectly recycled were issued please improve cards. The success of the program has seen poor recycling drop from 1 in 66 to 1 in 93 bins.

HIGHLY COMMENDED
THE CITY OF MONASH         
WASTE TRANSFER STATION – SUSTAINABLE WASTE RECOVERY FOR A BETTER FUTURE

 

YOUNG LEADERS
WINNER
CITY OF PORT PHILLIP PORT PHILLIP’S YOUNG LEADER: MARY ‘JESS’ JEYASINGHAM

Over the past two years, Mary ’Jess’ Jeyasingham has demonstrated creativity, leadership and huge amounts of dedication in her pursuit of positive environmental and social change and sustainability.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Jess over the past three years, which has always been collaboration as much as mentorship! Her poise, humour, compassion and intelligence make her a fun and dedicated colleague in action for sustainability. She has a natural optimism and looks for avenues to work with other students outside the ‘environmental sustainability’ silo, for example, creating projects with the Social Service club and reaching beyond the school grounds with other secondary schools.” April Seymore – Port Phillip EcoCentre.

Jess’s achievements include:

  • MacRobertson Girl’s High School Enviro Co-Captain, 2014

Responsible for coordinating projects with 40 Enviro representatives. Together with her co-captain, Jess conducted the inaugural sustainability component of new student orientation. Jess is helping coordinate her school’s participation in ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic and liaises for on behalf of the school in the MESI schools network.

  • MacRobertson Girl’s High School Enviro Rep 2011-2013
  • City of Port Phillip EcoCentre volunteer, 2013 – Greening Australia Toolbox, Melbourne Museum 2013
  • Co-presenter with April Seymore (EcoCentre) and Aunty Carolyn Briggs (Boon Wurrung Foundation) at the standing-room-only workshop Boon Wurrung Stories of the Bay: Linking Story, Place and Action
  • City of Port Phillip EcoCentre volunteer, summer 2013

Helped with initial mapping and plant identification for St Kilda West Beach classroom design proposal.

  • City of Port Phillip Work Experience at EcoCentre, 2012
  • Duke of Edinburgh community service at EcoCentre, winter 2012

While surveying and sorting the materials from beach clean-ups, Jess discovered a high incidence of plastic pellets. These were identified as nurdles, pre-production plastic which has since become a key research area for the Port Phillip Baykeeper, including an EPA report tracking a source of this dangerous marine pollutant.

  • Tomorrow’s Leaders for Sustainability graduate 2011