SUSTAINABLE CITY OF THE YEAR
CITY OF FRANKSTON
In 2014/15 Frankston City Council – which covers 131 square kilometres and is home to 128 000 people, launched its 10 year Environment Strategy. The strategy includes a Carbon Neutral Action Plan, which outlines a range of corporate and community based initiatives to help the municipality reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strive for its target of carbon neutrality by 2025.
The council is also keen to harvest solar energy, to help the region improve its sustainability. They launched the Frankston City Community Solar Program in 2015, to help residents make informed decisions regarding transitioning to solar power. Over 1000 residents participated in a series of solar workshops, and were provided with information on solar energy and suppliers. The council has also made its own effort, installing 50kW of solar panels to its buildings.
Various projects submitted by Frankston City Council to the Sustainable Cities Awards are critical components in its plan to achieve carbon neutrality. These include the new Peninsula Aquatic and Recreation Centre – which was designed using environmentally sustainable design principles, such as a co-generation plant which creates energy by using waste heat created by the plant used to heat the pool. On top of this, a 400 000 rainwater tank for bathrooms and irrigation was installed. The councils ‘Halve our Waste’ initiative, engaged 1000 households and local schools who were able to halve their landfill waste and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Participants in this program were provided with materials for composting and worm farming, as well as workshops to educate on reducing food waste.
The City of Frankston boasts various areas of conservation. One such area is the Brian Henderson Reserve, which was established with in the grounds of Woodleigh School in order to provide a ‘feral free’ environment for mammals indigenous to the area. Often utilised as an outdoor teaching area, the reserve has been reforested with indigenous flora and fauna, and also boats wetlands, grassland, scrub and bush ecosystems. Frankston City Council and Woodleigh School have collaborated to develop the ‘Compost Champions’ program, where students share their knowledge with the wider community.
Nestled around Port Phillip Bay, Frankston’s beautiful beach has been named Victoria’s most popular beach. It was awarded the 2012 Clean Beach Award. This year, the Frankston Waterfront Festival won the Clean Beach Category. The festival is a great opportunity to spread awareness about living sustainably and the importance of keeping our natural environment free from litter.
DAME PHYLLIS FROST AWARD
JOHN FORRESTER, WYNDHAM
Carranballac College teacher John Forrester is an active leader in the Wyndham community. John volunteers countless hours to local environmental causes through his roles on various committees, displaying a commitment to educating and supporting others to contribute to better environmental outcomes. John is president of the Werribee River Association (WRiVA), where he has been a member since 1993. WRiVA is affiliated and licensed by the International Waterkeeper Alliance to carry out the role of the Werribee Riverkeeper. In 2014, John was invited as Werribee Riverkeeper to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to attend the Waterkeeper Alliance Conference where he developed contacts with equivalent keepers in bays, creeks, wetlands, rivers, lakes, glacier fields from across the world. John is the president of Wyndham LitterWatch – an environmental education and community project initiated by Wyndham’s major environmental organisations (Western Region Environment Centre, Werribee River Association, and Western Melbourne Catchments Network) in partnership with the Crossroads Uniting Church, Melbourne Water and Wyndham City Council. LitterWatch was founded to raise community awareness of the detrimental impacts that litter has on the environment, especially local waterways, and to improve Wyndham’s general amenity. John is one of Wyndham’s most active environmental teachers and organises Kids Teaching Kids each year at Carranballac College where he teaches. Last year, John was invited to Seoul as part of a UNESCO initiative between the Department of Education Victoria and the Education Ministry Republic of Korea to share the story of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, a migratory bird which spends part of its life along the western shorelines of Port Phillip Bay, and the other half of its life in the northern hemisphere. John is an elected member of the Environment and Sustainability Portfolio Committee for Wyndham City. The committee provides guidance and advice to council on environment and sustainability policy and strategy development. John’s commitment and willingness to volunteer countless hours, educating the Wyndham community about environment issues and constantly advocating for a better outcome not only for the Werribee River but the entire environment is inspirational, and he is a deserving recipient of the Dame Phyllis Frost award.
ST LOUIS DE MONTFORT’S PRIMARY SCHOOL
ST LOUIS WHOLE SCHOOL APPROACH
Sustainability is incorporated across the whole curriculum at St Louis de Montfort’s Primary School, including a range of creative sustainability initiatives and practices that provide opportunities for the school to engage the wider community in reducing their environmental impact.
First established in 2013, the school’s sustainability education precinct is continually evolving and includes vegetable gardens, a permaculture area, orchard, bush tucker garden, chicken and duck coop, observation wetland ponds, grey water recycling, aquaponics, rabbit hutch, bird aviary, sheoak woodland area, swales, recycled tyre and sleeper walls, recycled tyre amphitheatre, wood fired pizza oven and a large kitchen built from recycled shipping containers. The Garden to Kitchen (G2K) program provides hands on learning for the school’s 420 students in a functioning sustainable environment. During classes students learn about permaculture, planting, reaping, preparing and cooking seasonal produce. Students actively participate in leading the school’s sustainability behaviour change program through groups such as the Marine Ambassador Leaders and the Sustainability Leaders. The leadership groups are involved in actively engaging with other students and communities and promoting their achievements, providing guided sustainability tours of the school, and delivering presentations at events such as the Kids Teaching Kids Conference, ResourceSmart Education Awards and Victorian garden events.
ELTHAM PRE SCHOOL
SUSTAINABLE GREEN FENCE ART PROJECT
The delightful sustainable green fence art at Eltham pre-school dominates the busy streetscape and reflects the pre-school’s focus on sustainable living, aesthetics and ethics. Passers-by often stop to look at the fence, impressed by its bight colours and strong message!
COMMUNITY ACTION AND LEADERSHIP
HUME CITY COUNCIL
HUME ENVIRO CHAMPIONS PROGRAM
Three years ago, Hume City Council recognised the challenge it faced in engaging a large, diverse and rapidly growing municipality in its effort to inspire lasting, community-driven sustainable change. After moderate success with traditional environmental education programs, the council initiated a community development program that empowered residents to engage their communities to live sustainably. Participants attend ten weekly sessions where they learnt about sustainability issues, leadership, project delivery and advocacy skills and graduated as ‘Enviro Champions’. The training is adaptable with participants sharing their skills and experiences while guiding sessions to meet their learning needs. The trainees also attended field trips and informal events with past Enviro Champions. Following the training, the Enviro Champions work in groups to develop and deliver projects with ongoing support from the council. Participants forge new friendships and gain a sense of purpose from contributing to their community. The ‘Champions’ also benefit from the program’s relationship-building focus and develop the confidence to create change and take action. The council now has 63 Enviro Champions from 20 cultural backgrounds delivering environmental projects.
CITY OF GREATER DANDENONG
ASYLUM SEEKER PILOT PROJECT – ROTH HETHERINGTON BOTANIC GARDENS
The City of Greater Dandenong has the highest number of refugees living in its community than any other municipality in Victoria. The project worked with six volunteers who had been in the country for seven months. They volunteered each week laying mulch and sand, weeding and replanting beds as part of a revitalisation of Roth Hetherington Botanical Gardens. This project was a win-win with Council having such eager and helpful volunteers to assist in undertaking works and the volunteers gaining access to a program which provides meaningful engagement of their time, enhancement of their skills and abilities, opportunity to establish valuable relationships in the community and a real sense of belonging.
FRANKSTON CITY COUNCIL
WELLS STREET FARMERS MARKET
Frankston City Council established the busy Well’s Street Farmers’ Market in late 2013. It was developed as an initiative to revitalise one of Frankston’s premier commercial streets that links the train station to the bay.
COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIPS
MELTON CITY COUNCIL
MELTON LEADS EMPOWERING OUR COMMUNITY
Centred on Melton Council’s Greenhouse Action Plan the LEADS (Lead, Educate, Advocate, Demonstrate, Sustainability) project was implemented to reduce Melton’s greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy use. Retrofit initiatives included the replacing of 3,800 streetlights with LED and T5 s and upgrading nine community facilities to reduce energy. The federal government provided $1.97 million to assist funding of the LEADS Project. The project aims to reduce greenhouse emissions by 2,900 tonnes with cost savings of $316,450pa. Council officers working with local disadvantaged households and surveys of Melton community organisations identified a difficulty where some residents were unable to pay energy bills. To empower the local community to reduce their energy consumption, three education programs were created: the Professional Leader course for professionals who work with the community, the Energy Leaders course for local volunteer groups, and an Ambassador course for culturally diverse and financially disadvantaged residents. Council held a Sustainability Expo this year, it provided advice and information to assist residents in reducing their energy use.
CITY OF GREATER GEELONG
BELLARINE RAIL TRAIL IMPROVEMENT
The extremely active Friends of the Bellarine Rail Trail & City of Greater Geelong group has succeeded in planting over 81,000 plants through its weekly working bees, with over 16,000 volunteer hours also contributing to enhancing and maintaining the previously disused Bellarine Rail Trail corridor.
CITY OF WHITTLESEA
ANNUAL CULTURAL HERITAGE PROGRAM
The City of Whittlesea’s Cultural Heritage Program was initially established in 2000 as a two-week festival of history and heritage. It has now grown to become an annual series of events and activities that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the City of Whittlesea and the people who live and work there. The events and activities take place from April to November each year, the 2014 program highlighted 25 events and attracted 4,000 visitors. The Cultural Heritage Program events bring people together through displays, tours, workshops and demonstrations to share cultural heritage as a distinguishing feature of the City of Whittlesea. It provides opportunities for people to tell their own story in their words, and encourages the community to learn and engage with cultural heritage in new ways. The various events held as part of the program highlight how the environment and communities have been shaped by the past. One of the events is the Well Bread Festival which showcases bread baking from around the globe, an innovative and fun way to explore different cultures and their cuisine.
CITY OF CASEY
OLD CHEESE FACTORY 150 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
The Old Cheese Factory is a Council managed (and Crown Land owned) community facility. It has over 150,000 people visit the site annually for family functions, passive recreation, for the use of the playground and farmers market. Purchased in 1854, the homestead, servant questers, wash house and kitchen were built in 1864. In 1874 the cheese factory was built on the site, 200 cows were milked twice daily and 150 cheeses made per week. In the early 1920’s the site was then purchased by the State Government for the ‘Post-World War 1 Soldier Settlement Scheme’. The 150 anniversary event was a day time festival dedicated to celebrating the site’s history. Over 1000 people attended, and activates included: historic display, Devonshire tea in the homestead, woodwork, historical re-enactments, milking cows and butter churning, farming displays, cheese making, wool spinning, period costume photographs, a farmers market a many other exciting activities!
MELTON CITY COUNCIL
MELTON WESTERN BACE 6 START SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS CENTRE
Melton City Council’s Western Business Centre for Excellence (BACE) is a 6-Star Green Star Building. The architects created an extremely flexible layout that includes facilities for emerging businesses and space for education, training and economic development. The purpose of the BACE is to provide the facilities and assistance for small businesses to start-up and grow in their local area. Currently 80 percent of Melton residents travel out of the area to work, mainly by car, making local employment a vital sustainability issue. This H-shaped building is designed to maximise access to natural ventilation and daylight while keeping glare to a minimum. A thermally high performing building fabric comprising double glazing and thermally broken window frames allows excellent climate control and reduces the reliance on additional heating and cooling systems. Design features aim to minimise energy use, for example through features that allow water to be heated or cooled by the rooftop solar installation, which is piped through the concrete floors.
The centre will eventually be surrounded by community facilities and an expected 60,000 population in the Toolern precinct.
FRANKSTON CITY COUNCIL
A NEW PARC FOR FRANKSTON CITY
Frankston City Council’s Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre (PARC)’s multiple Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) initiatives reduce its environmental impacts, improve energy and water efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
CITY OF GREATER DANDENONG
ROAD SIDE LITTER PREVENTION/EDUCATION PROGRAM
The City of Greater Dandenong has deployed innovative and well considered strategies in its comprehensive litter reduction campaign. The approach includes anti-litter messaging and branding across the entire municipality. The council’s focus is on face to face interaction and education to encourage the prevention of litter and waste among its residents and visitors. Lily Litter is the newest member of the litter prevention and waste education team helping spread the word at community events and visiting local schools to help educate residents about litter prevention. The council is collaborating with traders and installing stickers on bins along shopping strips to prevent litter being left around bins. Anti-littering signs placed at five locations display a number to report littering. This approach provides community members a channel to tackle litter bugs. Since installing the signage, litter reports to council have increased, demonstrating that people are keen to help dealing with litter. The program has been successful, with a noticeable decrease in the amount of litter dumped around public bins since the inception of this program.
FRANKSTON CITY COUNCIL
Residents against Graffiti in Ashleigh Avenue. The Residents against Graffiti in Ashleigh Avenue project has successfully prevented graffiti through a strategy that built community ownership by engaging volunteers from local schools, community groups and residents to help with the removal of graffiti, erecting signage to stop graffiti, the application of anti-graffiti coatings, and garden bed maintenance.
PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
CITY OF CASEY
FROG HOLLOW RESERVE ENHANCEMENT
The Friends of Frog Hollow have worked cohesively with the local community and Casey Council to extract the best possible result for this large scale project. From an area that was once a bare sporting field and water treatment pond; there is now a picturesque frog habitat, wetland and native reserve. Working from a Master Plan, more than 80,000 indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses have been planted, over 1,200 cubic metres of mulched garden beds created, several kilometres of shared pathways, boardwalks and bridge links built, and community notice boards have been erected. Walkers, joggers and cyclists are now able to travel continuously from Endeavour Hills to Port Phillip Bay. But more significantly, they are able to circumnavigate the entire wetlands of Frog Hollow and experience the re-vegetated and enhanced habitat and the abundance of bird life that now inhabits the reserve. The project’s enhancement of wetlands and re-vegetation of the surrounding reserve enables the community to enjoy this habitat with its rich biodiversity.
RESOURCE RECOVERY AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
CITY OF WHITTLESEA
KIDS BUILDING COMPUTERS FROM EWASTE
E-waste is growing disproportionately to other waste types and is problematic from a recycling and re-use perspective. The City of Whittlesea purchased twenty Raspberry Pi units (single board computers) for Lalor Primary School. Old VGA monitors, keyboards, mice and other parts were also purchased from an e-waste store. Over 10 weeks, students from grades 3 to 5 learnt how to assemble the Raspberry Pi computers using e-waste, operate the Linux/GNU operating system and preinstalled applications, and to use Scratch and BASIC programming languages. The final weeks of the course involved the programming of robots to solve mazes and follow lines. The Raspberry Pi project was continued at Mill Park Library in the form of a computer club offering children experience building simple electronic circuits related to robotics using old computer hardware donated by La Trobe University. The children continue to catch up weekly to sharing their computing experiences. Academics and leading ICT employers recognise that some of their best coders are self-learners that develop their skills outside formal school and college programs.
CITY OF GREATER DANDENONG
THE GREAT BIN SWAP
Waste and recycling bins in the City of Greater Dandenong have been changed to the Australian Standard, with conforming coloured bin lids. To coincide with this, an integrated and intensive campaign was delivered to engage the community and foster an improved approach to household recycling.
FRESH ENTERTAINMENT IN FRANKSTON
Fresh Entertainment is a group of twelve volunteers aged 16 to 22, who organise live music events and facilitate the Youth Recording Studio in Frankston. The recording studio offers young people the ability to have their music recorded at no cost in a professional environment. Frankston City Council oversees the program, using a ‘youth participation’ philosophy. Ownership of the program and the decision-making process is completely given to the crew. The volunteers are empowered to take control of hosting their own events and produce their own recordings. Experienced members mentor the newcomers with all aspects of audio engineering, lighting and event management. New members “shadow” the experienced ones to learn what is involved in roles such as Stage Manager and Event Coordinator. This invaluable skill development hones music industry employment skills and raises self-esteem while providing a sense of purpose and hope for the future. The program also enables young people in Frankston City to attend live music events in a safe environment free of drugs, alcohol and smoking and is funded by the State Government’s FReeZA youth program.