The Sunshine Coast has welcomed “several incredible initiatives” that will protect the region’s precious environment and help it retain its enviable lifestyle.
Sunshine Coast Council on Wednesday (September 21) released its Environment and Liveability Strategy Annual Report 2021/22, highlighting the organization’s progress in creating Australia’s most sustainable region.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the report provided a comprehensive overview of council’s leadership and actions contributing towards a sustainable Sunshine Coast.
“During the 2021/22 financial year, we continued to stay true to our vision and delivered several incredible initiatives,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The biggest of these was our international recognition as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve achieved in conjunction with our community.
“From being recognized internationally as a biosphere, to strategic environmental land acquisitions, planning for recreational outcomes, and developing pathways to respond efficiently and innovatively to a changing climate, the implementation of council’s award-winning Environment and Liveability Strategy is extensive.
“As we preserve, protect and enhance our natural environment, council also continued its delivery of the Environment Levy Program and our commitment to grow our green spaces.
“In total, we delivered a $13.17 million Environment Levy Program, supporting the acquisition of more than 165.5 hectares of new land for conservation purposes, as well as on-ground activities, research, and community partnerships.”
Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councilor Maria Suarez said a number of initiatives delivered in 2021/2022 demonstrated council’s commitment to enhancing our recreational opportunities.
“In line with the strategy, council endorsed the Recreation Parks Plan which outlines the strategic direction for parks across the region until 2031, supporting the delivery of even better experiences for our community,” Cr Suarez said.
“As another outcome, council recognized that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent and sustained effort to achieve net zero emissions by 2041.
“As part of our ongoing climate change response, council progressed the development of a Regional Climate Action Roadmap to identify paths forward to address climate risk and to build our collective capacity to respond efficiently and innovatively to a changing climate.”
Fellow Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councilor Peter Cox said the report showcased council’s environmental sustainability performance, including its carbon emissions.
“Becoming a zero-net emissions organization by 2041 is a Transformational Action of the Strategy,” said Cr Cox.
“Tracking our progress towards this target is important to understand our effectiveness in reducing these emissions and the adjustments and further investments that may be required.
“The Environment and Liveability Strategy is now in its fifth year and continues to provide the long-term strategic directions to guide growth, environmental protection and shape the region for future generations.”
Achievements Snapshot: Environment Liveability Strategy Annual Report 2021/2022
Receiving official recognition as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The Sunshine Coast now proudly stands as an international site of excellence and an area of natural beauty.
Delivering a $13.17m Environment Levy Program to support land acquisitions, on-ground activities and research and community partnerships that protect and enhance our natural environment
securing more than 450 hectares of new lands for conservation and recreation purposes
Blue Heart Sunshine Coast project securing a $2 million Commonwealth Grant to investigate Blue Carbon restoration, and over $35 million as part of the South East Queensland City Deal.
Adopting the Stormwater Management Strategy, that will lead to more effective stormwater management for our community.
Continued planning for the proposed Sunshine Coast ecological park, which has just concluded its second stage of community engagement and will provide our region with a huge variety of opportunities to connect with nature.
Endorsing the Recreation Parks Plan which outlines the strategic direction for parks across the region until 2031, supporting the delivery of even better experiences for our community.
Opening the Mooloolaba Northern Parkland, extending 340 meters along the beachfront to foster healthy and active lifestyles and provide residents and visitors with a new space to have fun.
Opening the Beerwah Community Meeting Place, an innovative and sustainable new space for the community to meet and enjoy, which was constructed thanks to $1.65 million from the Queensland Government’s Unite and Recover Community Stimulus Package.
Recognizing that we are in a state of climate emergency and undertaking a collaborative approach with Noosa Shire Council to address climate risk now and into the future.
Installing environmental sensors across the region to collect data to inform planning and decision making.
Ongoing advocacy for the protection of the Regional Inter-urban Break.
To view the full annual report, head to els.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.