- Thursday 16 June 2016
Protecting and enhancing the Sunshine Coast environment has been given the green tick of approval with $28 million allocated in the council’s 2016/17 budget.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said $21 million would be invested in bushland, conservation and habitat; $5 million invested in beaches, foreshore, coastal infrastructure and canals; and $2 million invested in the Sunshine Coast’s rivers, streams, estuaries and water bodies.
“The Environment Levy will increase by $10 to $70 – the first increase since the levy was introduced eight years ago,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The $9.3 million investment through our Environment Levy program will keep us on track as we strive to become Australia’s most sustainable region – vibrant, green, diverse.
“The levy will be allocated towards buying, protecting and enhancing environmentally-significant land, adding to the 2700 hectares of land already purchased by council.
“It will also go towards protecting our beaches, foreshores bushland and our way of life and establishing clean energy projects.
“Sunshine Coast is home to many environmental and conservation volunteers so we will continue to work closely with the community to protect and enhance our environment through partnerships and grants.
“Council will also invest $4.5 million in the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Environment Visitor and Education Centre.
“Thanks to our focus on the environment, council’s legacy will benefit generations to come.”
Mayor Jamieson said $31 million would also be invested in the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm – Australia’s first utility-scale solar farm.
“Sunshine Coast Council’s quest to become Australia’s first local government to offset its entire electricity consumption from green energy is powering ahead,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Construction on the 15 megawatt (MW) solar farm on council-owned land at Valdora will go full steam ahead within months, and is due for completion this financial year.
“By 2017 it will offset 100% of the organisation’s electricity consumption across all its facilities and operations, with solar energy going into the grid.
“That includes our administration buildings, swimming pools, performance venues and community centres, our holiday parks, libraries and art gallery and our sport and recreation facilities.
“Most other governments are still talking about offsetting 50% of their energy needs from renewables by 2025 so our 100% offset puts us way ahead of the game.
“The solar farm will also provide $22 million in savings, after costs, over a 30-year period.
“That’s a win for our environment and our community.”