Local Environmental Sustainability Policy

I have written about this issue here. However I also wanted to inform the local community about the policy and so here is the latter half of a letter to Northern Argus on 28 September 2011.

I conclude with the issue about our Council's Environmental Sustainability Policy. I have examined this policy in depth. It was passed by Council in April 2010, and it requires an extraordinary amount of change, commitment, measurement, monitoring, reporting, responsibility, and investment ... all for the good, by the way. My inquiries at the Council office have demonstrated that there are few, if any, mechanisms in place to implement the policy. And indeed, it is the elected members who are responsible for implementing the policy.

I believe the policy deserves a great deal of respect and attention, as well as immediate action. A policy is precisely what it says - it is what Council must do. It commits the Council to act.

Late last year and earlier this year several concerned citizens (I was one) met with Council representatives to discuss the transition of Mistletoe Action Group to a broader environmental reference group. There is no better time than now to get this reference group going. There is no time for procrastination.

Regardless of his character flaws, Mahatma Gandhi was right when he said - "You must be the change you wish to see in this world."

Transition Communities NMLR consists of people with a common concern, and people who are prepared to help in any way they can. I encourage Council to examine every conceivable way about implementing its Environmental Sustainability Policy.

Let's hope that 2012 brings a new air of hope, of commitment to policies, and importantly of commitment to the following policy statements (as quoted in the policy):

"To protect and enhance the natural environment"

"To raise awareness of environmental sustainability and increase community participation"

"Enhance biodiversity on all Council managed land"

"...set targets and objectives to achieve environmental sustainability"

"Council will report on its environmental program to the Community"

"All new Council buildings and facilities, parks, gardemns and community lands will be developed in line with sustainability principles and incorporate good environmental performance"

Undertake "benchmarking study of consumption of energy and related GreenHouseGas Emissions throughout (Council's) operations"

"Undertake core business activities and provisdionof services ... in an ecologically sustainable manner"

"Promote sustainable water use ..."

"...improve the condition of water reserves..."

"Protect the biodiversity of the region by promoting and implementing sustainable land management practices"

Minimise "...native plant and animal species decline ..."

Side Note : This is all very interesting stuff, because this policy was in force at the time that the use of Council land at Benny's Hill Road (adjacent to the waste depot) was in dispute. Even more contentious is that I could not find the policy listed on Council's website at the time that the case was before the ERD Court. Make your own conclusions about this. 

See Case Study in THE LOCAL EYE.

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