Council and community action on climate change is progressing with 87% of the 67 actions in the Climate Emergency Corporate Response Plan for 2021-2023 either completed or on track.
The actions are all aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change by cutting greenhouse emissions and adapting to those impacts that our community is already experiencing.
Key actions taken during the October to December 2022 quarter include:
· Adopting an Environmentally Sustainable Council Facilities Policy.
· Commencing the process for Council becoming a certified carbon neutral organisation using the Australian Government’s Climate Active certification.
· Planning for the next installation of solar panels, which will be at the Winchelsea Community House. A budget bid has been submitted to continue this program in 2022-23.
· Planning to install four new electric vehicle charging stations across the shire, following a successful state government grant application.
· Completing assessments for energy efficiency and gas transition works in the Torquay civic precinct.
· Submitting budget bids to expand Council’s street tree program in hinterland areas at risk of urban heat impacts and to improve sustainable water use.
· Supporting climate action projects through small grants, including a Climate Revolution Summit led by Surfers for Climate, community garden improvement projects and the development of a locally based ecological footprint calculator led by the Surf Coast Energy Group (SCEG).
· Completing the Youth for Climate 2021 program.
· Working with Monash University and SCEG on the Active Energy Precincts project to explore community batteries and micro-grid opportunities.
Of the actions for 2021-2023, which form part of Council’s 10-year Climate Emergency Response Plan, 15% have been completed, 72% are on track to be delivered within the two-year time frame and 13% are subject to funding or delayed. The latest actions build on Council recently achieving 100% renewable electricity for all its operations and at a lower cost.
“I’m proud of the work happening locally to address the climate emergency and within the next few months Council will become a carbon-neutral organisation, which is a big step forward,” Cr Kate Gazzard said.
“There’s of course a lot more work to be done, but we’re making good progress and I want to thank all the incredible action groups, businesses and individuals who have stepped up to help protect our natural world.”
“I know so many of us feel disheartened by the climate situation and a sense of helplessness, but we all need to play our part. There are so many simple changes that we can make in our own lives and those actions will inspire others and lead to more action.”
“If you’re not sure where to start, go to environmentsurfcoast.com.au, which is full of ideas and inspiration to transition to more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.”
The Surf Coast Shire Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, acknowledging the need for more urgent and extensive action to reduce emissions and respond to local climate change impacts.