Council shares in UN World Environment Day Award win
  • Thursday 18 June 2015

The work of Sunshine Coast Council staff has helped Unitywater claim a prestigious award at the UN World Environment Day Awards presented in Melbourne.

Unitywater received the prize for Best Specific Environmental Initiative in recognition of a $17 million project to upgrade the Maleny Sewage Treatment Plant and establish its associated wetlands.

Formally opened at a public event last June, the upgraded plant uses a membrane bioreactor to treat effluent to a very high standard before sending it to an irrigated rainforest and wetlands in the Maleny Community Precinct.

This process of natural filtration further disperses and removes nutrients from the nearby Obi Obi Creek.

“The forest and wetlands have transformed a section of an old dairy farm into an important habitat for flora and fauna,” Council’s Environment Portfolio holder Cr Jenny McKay said.

“Council worked hand-in-hand with Unitywater, local bushcare groups and the community to develop parts of the forest and wetlands system and align them with the Maleny Community Precinct Master Plan. This includes walking tracks and planting zones for the community to enjoy.”

Unitywater’s Manager – Capital Delivery Andrew Schoenmaker acknowledged Sunshine Coast Council’s role in the award win with a special presentation during today’s June Ordinary Meeting in Nambour.

“To win this UN World Environment Day Award is tremendously exciting for all of us at Unitywater,” Simon Taylor, Executive Manager, Infrastructure Planning and Capital Delivery at Unitywater said.

“There are so many reasons why this award is special. Not only has it come from an organisation as respected as the United Nations, it was also presented on World Environment Day and it acknowledges just how valuable this facility is to the environment and the community.

“Unitywater shares this impressive award with the wonderful local community and the Maleny Green Hills Fund, who have partnered with us on this initiative.”

Maleny Community Precinct Advisory Group also played a key role in the project.

Unitywater was up against the following finalists in the Business Awards, Best Specific Environmental Initiative category:

-Teys Australia, Major Multi Site Renewable Energy Development and Waste Water Upgrade (QLD);

-Western Rock Lobster Council, Western Australian Rock Lobster Fishery: 15 Years of Sustainability (WA)

-South East Water, Peninsula ECO Project (VIC);

-Goulburn Murray Water, Hattah Lakes Restoration Project (VIC).