FACT CHECK: NOOSA COUNCIL CLIMATE ACTION
Responding to the Climate Emergency isn't just a national and state issue, it is the responsibility of local government too.
We think our members may be interested to read this list from Councillor Brian Stockwell on the steps Noosa Council has been taking to deal with climate change and the Climate Emergency.
Here are the facts about what this Council has been doing.
Nearly all of these initiatives have included public consultation and/or been reported to the community through Council meetings.
GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION
Council adopted the Zero Emissions Organisational Strategy that aims to achieve an ambitious zero net emissions from Council operations by 2026. The implementation of this strategy has seen many actions to reduce Council’s emissions including:
1. Have installed 452 Kw roof top solar PV installed on Council owned and operated buildings to date with another 243 KW planned to be installed in 2020
2. LED lighting retrofits at the Leisure Centre, The Depot, The Admin Building, The NAC,
3. Further LED Lighting retrofits planned for The J in 2020
4. Achieved a 32% reduction in annual electricity costs as a result of solar installation and energy efficiency to date
5. This is lowering our energy bills by about $118,000 per year and will pay back installation costs within 3-4 years of installation.
6. New lateral lines have been installed the landfill to increase landfill gas capture and reduce methane emissions
7. Over $30,000 in community grants have been approved to assist community groups to install solar, upgrade lighting to LEDs and run ZEN related events such as the Race to Zero for schools and the ZEN Inc. Electric vehicle expo
8. A free energy and solar advice line has been commenced in partnership with the Australian Energy Foundation
9. Hybrid cars are now included in Council fleet
10. After input from around 1000 people council adopted the Transport Strategy which clearly set out the principle that we would “design for, encourage and facilitate transport options that reduce emissions produced by our community.”
11. After broad consultation Council adopted Environment Strategy in 2019 which targets net zero emissions by 2026 for both Noosa Council and the Noosa Community. The Strategy has a whole theme covering “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience”.
12. The Environment Strategy Implementation Plan for the next 5 years not only sets out three climate adaptation targets it also outlines 9 specific actions to achieve them.
13. Draft New Noosa Plan includes results of sea level rise and storm surge modelling to set minimum floor levels.
14. The 2nd Draft of the Revised Noosa River Plan put out to consultation in December also has a specific section covering the relevant Climate Change considerations and includes an action to monitor changes in groundwater and wetlands and the potential impacts of climate change on their health.
PREPARING AND ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE
15. Council commenced the Coastal Hazard Assessment Plan funded by QCoast2100. This 8 phase project commenced with a round of workshops with a broad range of community stakeholders.
16. An independent climate governance assessment as part of the Qld Climate Resilient Councils Program identified that Noosa Council was one of the leaders in the State, having embedded consideration of climate risks across a range of different policies and procedures.
17. In December Council adopted its first Climate Change Response Policy
18. Community were asked to have their say on planning for sea-level rise and other coastal hazards. Council ran a series of community pop-ups and an online forum to gauge which natural and built assets the community values most. Residents about their priorities for planning for future sea level rise, plus other climate-related coastal hazards such as erosion, storm tide events and inundation. This process culminated in December 2018 adaptation options workshop with over 50 community members from across the shire participating.
19. The Noosa Shire Council Coastal Hazards Risk, Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment was reported to Council in July.
20. Background study for the Climate Change Adaptation Plan commenced in September 2019, finalisation expected March 2020. This includes Cost benefit analysis of potential adaptation strategies.
21. Council is ‘beta’ testing a new Flood Forecasting System which integrates high resolution rainfall predictions with a hydrology model of our catchments to predict flooding events across the shire.
As well as rainfall, the system also uses the BoM wave, tide and surge forecasts to predict water levels in the river and at Noosa Main Beach. The system is intended to provide disaster management officers with early warning of events that we can then prepare for in advance. (no public reporting on this yet)
22. The community has been given the opportunity to suggest priorities for the State and Federal Disaster recovery funding results to be reported in March 2020.
23. Bushland Reserves Fire Management Plan is being reviewed by an external expert.