Fantastic effort for our environment and on behalf of the Sunshine Coast we thank all of those locals who volunteered their time for this great cause on the day.
Fantastic effort for our environment and on behalf of the Sunshine Coast we thank all of those locals who volunteered their time for this great cause on the day.
The Sunshine Coast has lived up to its aim of being Australia’s most sustainable region at this year’s National Garage Sale Trail.
Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the Sunshine Coast had the second highest number of registered garage sales in Queensland at the October 26 event and the highest number of community groups participating anywhere in Australia.
“All up there were 194 registered garage sales on the Sunshine Coast, including 18 community groups, five schools and six local businesses,” she said.
“Each seller sold an average of eight shopping trolleys full of items on the day. That equates to around 1552 shopping trolleys in total or around 300 cubic metres of items that were redistributed.
“Approximately $90,000 was spent locally and each seller had a conversation with around 20 new people on the day, which equates to around 17,500 community connections that happened locally on the day.
“So, we diverted resources from landfill, we reinvested some money in our local community and we met quite a few of our neighbours for the first time.”
Endangered Loggerhead Turtles are about to emerge on local beaches to build nests and lay their eggs. We can all play a role to ensure their hatchlings have the best possible chance of survival.
Sunshine Coast Council Environment Portfolio Councillor Tony Wellington said the annual turtle nesting season generally took place during November and December, with hatchlings emerging around early January.
The coastal strip between Point Cartwright and Shelly Beach is a favourite site but turtles may also appear on other stretches of the Coast.
“The 2009 nesting season saw a record 70 nests on local beaches. Given that Loggerhead turtles normally nest every three to four years, we may be seeing that same group of turtles returning to the Sunshine Coast this season,” he said.
“There is the potential for higher than normal numbers of endangered turtles on our beaches, so it is extremely important that we all do the right thing to help their survival.”
Cr Wellington said nesting turtles could often be seen emerging from their nests in the dunes or from the water at night.
“For beachgoers who observe turtles, it is important to switch off any torches, ensure any dogs are secured on leashes and kept well away, and call the local TurtleCare number – 0437 559067 – as quickly as possible,” he said.
“The reason why it’s important for people to call TurtleCare is that it allows volunteers to find the turtle nest and cover it with exclusion mesh to protect it from foxes.
“If you are witnessing a nesting female turtle it is also important to remain very still. Turtles are sensitive to movement and are likely to return to the water if they detect too much disturbance around them.
“Australia’s eastern population of Loggerheads comprises only around 500 nesting females. The Sunshine Coast population is therefore vital to the long term survival of this species.”
Beachgoers are also urged to dispose of all rubbish carefully during turtle season. For more information and tips on caring for turtles visit the localTurtleCare website: www.turtlecare.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.
Revegetation of the dunes along Maroochydore Beach is underway this week, as council begins planting the first of more than 17,000 native species to help build dunal resilience following the sand-pumping.
Division 8 Councillor Jason O’Pray said the revegetation is an important part of the sand renourishment project.
“The sand-pumping has taken the beach from an eroded stretch of coffee rock back to the fantastic sandy beach we have previously known and loved,” he said.
“This revegetation is the next step in boosting resilience of the dunes and helping to protect public facilities and infrastructure along Alexandra Parade and Aerodrome Road during severe erosion events.
“We will revegetate just over 5850 square metres in total.”
Cr O’Pray said this planting day was the first step in a large council and community effort, which will continue into early 2014.
“Today’s planting is a community event – the Stockland Group will be helping council and the community with the planting as part of council’s Corporate Volunteering Program,” he said.
“The plants have also been propagated by the volunteer-run Coolum Native Nursery.”
Division 4 Councillor Chris Thompson said the plants would help stabilise sand on the newly formed dunes.
“Boosting the vegetation with native plants helps trap sand that is blown across the beach to kick start the natural dune building process,” he said.
Cr Thompson said the rest of the revegetation would occur at a community planting day in November.
“This is the first in a series of community planting days for this project – there will be a big volunteer event on Saturday 16 November from 8am to 11am,” he said.
“It will be a great family day out and we need as many volunteers as possible, so if you can lend a hand please turn up at Pierce Park on the day.”
Fencing will be in place around the dunes to protect the new plants.
Sunshine Coast Council today announced its most recent purchase under the Environmental Levy program, a unique 60 hectare property at the base of Mt Ninderry. The $2.6 million purchase expands the existing Mt Ninderry Bushland Conservation Reserve to more than 150 hectares, ensuring its long-term protection for future generations.
An incoming Coalition Government will launch three Green Army projects to tackle local environmental issues in Fisher.
Fisher LNP candidate Mal Brough said an elected Coalition would build a 15,000 strong Green Army Environmental workforce Australia-wide.
“This national roll-out will be the largest standing environmental workforce in Australia’s history,” Mr Brough said.
“It’s tasks will include three on-the-ground environmental projects for Fisher of up to 25 weeks duration.”
The local projects include:
“The Green Army is an exciting development in the way we tackle environmental projects,” said Mr Brough.
“Not only will it actively improve hundreds of sites across the country, but local young people will be able to join the Green Army and get training and learn to work as part of a team.
“Participants will receive a training allowance, as well as gain valuable work skills and potential qualifications in different areas of environmental remediation.
“I hope joining the Green Army will become a rite-of-passage for hundreds of local young people throughout Fisher in the years ahead.
“Joining the Green Army will teach many young people about teamwork, local ownership and about the value of belonging to something greater than yourself.
Mr Brough said the Green Army projects would complement the work of local environmental and landcare groups as well as the environmental work undertaken by councils.
“I am looking forward to working with residents, local environmental groups and local community in identifying projects throughout Fisher that the Green Army can tackle.”
The Alexandra Foreshore Conservation Group, which regularly meets to eradicate weeds and re-vegetate the Bluff, welcomed the concept of Green Army assistance.
“Additional hands will help in the on-going task of improving our Alex coastline,” said Group President Josie Ryan.
“The critical issue of recent concern is stabilisation of the dunes behind Council’s beach nourishment project at the northern end of Alex, one of the weakest links in this area of the Coast. The Alexandra Headland Community Association has also submitted a proposal to Council for a boardwalk connecting Alex and Maroochy beaches, and similar projects have been assisted in the past by the Green Army. It’s refreshing to hear of proposals that will be of practical benefit to our community.”
ALP Candidate For Fisher, Bill Gissane, today used his appearance at the Solar Citizens Forum to outline his plans for renewable energy initiatives on the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland.
“The electorate of Fisher is ideally placed to become a world class leader in the development and implementation of renewable energy initiatives.” Mr Gissane said.
At the heart of the policy is the declaration of the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland as an RTZ – Renewable Test Zone.
“If elected, I will immediately conduct talks with the University of the Sunshine Coast to establish a Department of Sustainable Economics. It will become a world centre of research into the costs and benefits of renewables. Often this is the sticking point in estimating the true effects of moving to a sustainable future”. Mr Gissane said.
There will also be a thrust to have USC become a world leader in the engineering and scientific fields associated with renewables.
“The truly ground breaking part of this plan is the use of various parts of the Coast and Hinterland to trial and measure the new techniques.” Mr Gissane added.
An early initiative will be to have solar panels fitted to low income residences for free and measure the payback time in reduced power consumption. If successful, it could become the model for the nation. Other plans include… Using solar energy to boil salt for use at night as a heat source for power generation Testing new battery technologies Including the solar farm as part of collective power generation sources.
“When coupled with the plan to run a high speed, off shore fibre optic link to Kawana, we have a way of linking together our education facilities and technology to provide jobs for generations to come” Mr Gissane concluded.
For further information contact Bill Gissane 0499 876 433
The Sunshine Coast could become the alternative energy capital of coastal Australia with Sunshine Coast Council set to build a solar farm to meet its electricity needs.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast would live up to its name by tapping into the energy of the sun to deliver a multi-million-dollar saving for ratepayers.
“If our market-sounding exercises stack up, we would be the first council to build a solar farm at utility scale in Australia, and it will be potentially the largest in the nation,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This would save money, reduce our carbon footprint and take the Sunshine Coast one step closer to becoming the most sustainable region in Australia.
“The $24-30m solar farm proposed to be built at Valdora near Coolum would meet half of council’s electricity needs for at least the next 30 years.
“Currently council spends about $11m annually on electricity and like everyone else has been exposed to the marked increases in power prices in recent years.
“Over the next three decades council is expected to pay in excess of $110m for electricity, and the solar farm would have the potential to reduce that by many millions of dollars.”
An investment in the solar farm would also generate $10m for the local economy over the next 10 years and create 40 jobs during construction, Mayor Jamieson said.
Division 9 and Portfolio Councillor for New and Emerging Industries Stephen Robinson said more would be saved if the project life and output are greater than the initial conservative estimates.
“Council would also be well placed to leverage investment in the solar farm project by continuing to develop the ‘clean-tech’ industry hub on the Sunshine Coast,” Councillor Robinson said.
“The region would be able to export the skills developed during construction to similar projects within and outside Queensland – further diversifying our economy.
“The environmental benefits would be substantial as council’s greenhouse gas emissions from our electricity usage would be expected to drop by about 50%.”
Energex Chief Executive Officer Terry Effeney said the company was fully supportive of the Valdora project, describing the solar farm as a positive application of solar PV for the community.
“Sunshine Coast Energex staff and technical experts from across the business have been involved in discussions regarding the project for some time and will continue working with the council during the implementation phase ahead,” he said.
“The Valdora project represents another step in the ongoing collaboration between the Sunshine Coast Council and Energex regarding local electricity supplies and peak demand management.”
Council thanks Energex for its contribution through this process, and also Damien Glanville and Jason Hague of Locality Planning Energy who have developed the initial concept.
In the coming weeks, council will call for an Expression of Interest to design and build the solar farm. This will be used to confirm the cost and benefit estimates.
While there are many challenges to be met, council is hopeful that the market-sounding exercise will generate significant responses from companies and consortia, to enable construction to commence in 2014.
[Video]After months of planning and preparations, the state’s largest premier gardening event has come up roses, with the Nambour Showgrounds having been transformed into a sea of colour for the 29th annual Queensland Garden Expo this weekend. The event, which is expected to attract more than 30,000 attendees between 5 and 7 July, will showcase the wares of over 360 exhibitors and more than 55 nurseries selling over 40,000 plants per day. It will also offer a jam-packed program full of lectures and demonstrations.
Only a few short weeks ago the Sunshine Coast Council identified Cleantech Industries as one of the region’s nominated seven high value industry sectors in its Economic Development Strategy so it is fitting that one of the Coast’s newest residents is contributing to this growing market.
Tony Innes of Sustainable Directions says he was attracted to the Sunshine Coast because of the supportive Council and the lifestyle which supports his business ethos and because of easy access to the local airport.
“It was important for me to choose a location where the cleantech industry was recognised for its immense potential and where the local council was supportive of nurturing and attracting businesses within this field,” said Mr Innes, whose Coolum-based company offers sustainability training and helps businesses achieve environmental credentials.
“We spent a great deal of time scouring the East Coast for a suitable base after establishing the business in South Australia, and we were very impressed by both Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast and the local government support which was evident on the Sunshine Coast.”
Adrian Just, President of the Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast and Coolum architect, said that Mr Innes’ relocation to the Coast indicated that the Council has picked a winner by nominating Cleantech Industries as a growth area.
“We are delighted to welcome Sustainable Directions as a new member. If we can continue to attract businesses of this caliber to the region it is an investment for our future, and positive for the Sunshine Coast business community as a whole,’ Mr Just said.
“There are many success stories of Australian cleantech products going ballistic in overseas markets.”
Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast is keen to invite further cleantech businesses to the Sunshine Coast and is forming alliances with over 20 other industry associations and groups to strengthen the green credentials of all businesses.
“Nearly every business sector uses clean technologies on a daily basis. This benefits the business’s bottom line through efficiencies, marketing, regulatory compliance and advocacy,’ Mr Just said.
The Cleantech industries sector is currently valued on the listed exchanges at over B$500, and with a 15% annual increase.
Both Mr Just and Mr Innes joined Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson in addressing the Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce networking event last week, further strengthening the links between the cleantech group and other Sunshine Coast business networks.
Environment Minister Andrew Powell today welcomed industry leaders and international delegates to a Waste and Recycling Symposium in Brisbane.
Mr Powell said the symposium came at a time when the Newman Government was working to improve the state’s waste strategy.
“The Newman Government is determined to work with all sectors to find the right mix of policy and actions to deliver better waste management and resource recovery in Queensland,” Mr Powell said.
“There is a real appetite for change and openness – industry wanted us to look at different ways to achieve our common goals.
“I don’t believe it is government’s role to dictate to industry how to do its business.
“Rather I believe our role is in forming and facilitating partnerships to enable workable solutions that achieve a win for industry, and a win for the environment.
“This symposium provides an excellent platform to highlight the challenges and opportunities facing the waste sector and I look forward to hearing ideas and suggestions from a number of respected speakers that will assist informing Queensland’s future waste strategy.”
Mr Powell told delegates the Waste and Recycling Symposium drew together an international mix of ideas and experiences.
“I congratulate the organisers for wanting to promote best practice to members of the Queensland waste industry,” he said.
“Well done to Rick Ralph and all members of Waste Recyclers Industry of Queensland for pulling together this two-day event.
“We can use these opportunities to chart a way forward to a shared goal of waste reduction.”
Mayor Mark Jamieson has congratulated local people for their commitment to improving the region’s waterways following four big wins at the Healthy Waterways Awards.
Sunshine Coast community groups and a local volunteer won awards at the annual presentation.
“The Sunshine Coast was extremely well represented at the Awards this year, which shows the ongoing commitment our community has to the environment,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“All Sunshine Coast entrants have made significant contributions to improve and protect our waterways and are an inspiration for others to take action.
“These wonderful achievements will only strengthen the Sunshine Coast’s position in becoming the most sustainable region in Australia.”
Sunshine Coast winners in the 2013 Healthy Waterways Awards included:
Environment Portfolio Councillor Tony Wellington said the Awards highlighted the wide range of environmental activities underway across the Coast.
“The Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation has been working on a number of projects in the Maroochy River including mangrove propagation, riverbank revegetation, wildlife surveys and weed control,” he said.
“Other successful initiatives included Cruise Noosa Biosphere, a collaboration of Noosa organisations promoting the high biodiversity of the Noosa River, and the litter collection in the Pumicestone Passage which involved a massive 300 volunteers.
“There are a great variety of community-driven projects aiming to improve waterways across the Sunshine Coast. I commend everyone involved.”