- Last updated:
- 28 Apr 2022
Building a healthy environment and sustainable region
This final post in our Intelligent Community series is about sustainability: Communities that make environmental sustainability a shared goal typically engage organisations, community groups and neighbourhoods in advocating for sustainability programs and activities. These contribute to civic pride, local identity and shared goals.
In the video below, council's David Moore explains how our Environment and Liveability Strategy will respond to the challenges of our growing population and the potential impacts on the health of our environment, lifestyle and resilience. World Environment Day Coordinator, Natalie Frost, also talks about how this iconic festival brings the community together to educate them and celebrate our environment.
In the following video, Simon Crock explains how the Valdora Solar Farm offests 100% of council's electricity consumption with energy from a renewable source.
Programs and initiatives
Living Smart Program
Living Smart aims to empower the community to adopt simple sustainable changes towards sustainable living by:
- Sharing local good news stories/blogs on the website
- Sharing useful resources/information
- Developing campaigns to support targeted behaviour change
- Supporting awards and recognition programs
- Developing and partnering in community programs that inspire, connect and build capacity for our community to consider and adopt sustainable living behaviours – and think about things in new ways.
The program has engaged with more than 500,000 people since its inception - via website, online modules, events, program activations, awards, partnership activities and monthly e-news.
Originally developed as Living Smart Homes in 2007, the program was redeveloped in 2009 as Living Smart Homes, Solutions and Awards and as Living Smart in 2017. The program is currently being reviewed to ensure that we provide content and systems that are current and appeal to our target audiences in 2020.
Council is leading a nomination for our region to be recognised by UNESCO as a biosphere which will help to protect and enhance the economy, lifestyle and environment for future generations.
Consultation with the community and key stakeholders to test the proposal to nominate for a UNESCO Biosphere was undertaken from March-June 2019, with key stakeholder engagement continuing through to August 2019.
In October 2019, council endorsed the 300-page nomination to be forwarded to the State Government, and pending State Government endorsement, forwarded to the Australian Government to assess the nomination and then submit it to UNESCO for consideration in September 2020. UNESCO will notify Sunshine Coast Council of the outcome of the nomination in June 2021.
Blue Heart Sunshine Coast
Blue Heart Sunshine Coast aims to protect and manage the most critical areas of the 5,000 hectares in the Maroochy River Catchment floodplain.
The land within the Blue Heart area is held for: rural and agricultural purposes; conservation; generation of renewable energy; water quality nutrient offsetting; vegetation offsetting and carbon sequestration; open space purposes.
Coastal hazard adaptation strategy
Our Resilient Coast. Our Future is a long-term strategy to help manage the impacts of coastal hazards such as beach erosion, and short or long-term seawater inundation (from sea level rise) of land along and adjacent to our coastline. This strategy is a key action in the Environment and Liveability Strategy to increase the resilience of our region from the impacts of climate change over time.
There has been extensive engagement across a range of key sectors, including youth, Traditional Owners, business, general community, research, coastal/environment, government/ disaster management/ social services, and utilities. The project has also established a Community Advisory Group – an 18 person reference group to guide the strategy’s development.
Land for Wildlife
Our region hosts the largest Land for Wildlife program in the country, having reached a milestone in 2019 with over 1100 landowners involved in this program. More than 8,800 hectares of privately-owned land – in addition to the 6,900 hectares in council’s conservation estate – are being managed with conservation objectives in mind.
With one of the highest concentrations of clean technology businesses in Queensland, the Sunshine Coast has developed credentials in sustainability and clean technology innovation and is home to award-winning applications and research capabilities.
- The Sunshine Coast has taken another leading position by unveiling Australia's first, high-tech, underground automated waste collection system to be installed in the new Maroochydore City Centre.
- The University of the Sunshine Coast hosts the Sustainability Research Centre – providing access to contemporary research that supports the growth of the clean technologies industry.
- Easy access to regional support including mentoring and programs from startup to life and scale globally through the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, one of the country’s most awarded innovation centres which hosts and supports many startup cleantech businesses.
Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast
Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast (CISC) is a membership based eco-business hub that connects eco-friendly businesses, government and community. CISC is now the only self-managed, self- funded cleantech industry group in Australia and the voice of Cleantech industries in the Sunshine Coast region.
Industry capabilities are in water management, environmentally sustainable building design and products, manufacturing and industrial processes, energy efficiency, and environmental consulting.
Regional events include:
- The Cleantech Effect exhibition and conference - 2015 and 2017
- National Clean Technologies Conference and Exhibition – May 2019
- Sunshine Coast Innovations Day
- Water Wise Connect expo/conference
Read more about the region-wide programs and initiatives across the awards' Intelligent Community indicators:
- Broadband: encouraging deployment and adoption, and deploying our own networks where necessary
- Knowledge workforce: creating economic value through knowledge, skills and ability to use information effectively
- Innovation: creating a culture that engages the entire community in positive change
- Digital inclusion: providing access to digital technology and connectivity, and offering digital skills training
- Engagement: building a common understanding of the challenges facing the community and a shared vision for overcoming them.
The Sunshine Coast was named a global Top7 Intelligent Community for the second successive year. The annual awards program recognises the accomplishments of communities in developing inclusive prosperity on a foundation of information and communications technology, based on six key indicators: Broadband, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital inclusion, engagement and sustainability. The 2020 Top7 Intelligent Communities are now in the running for the prestigious Intelligent Community of the Year, to be announced in October.