Environmental sustainability initiatives

Whitehorse City Council recognises the importance of taking local action to ensure we live in an environmentally sustainable community and takes active steps to reduce its contribution to climate change.

Council has identified ways to minimise the impacts already being experienced by climate change and in the 2009/10 financial year, commenced work on the Climate Change Adaptation Plan. This plan will build on the strategies outlined in the Whitehorse Sustainability Strategy 2008–2013: Our EcoVision which outlines Council’s sustainability agenda for the five year period.

During the 2009/10 financial year, in line with the Whitehorse Sustainability Strategy 2008–2013: Our EcoVision, many services and programs were delivered by Council, including the following.

Climate change, greenhouse and energy

  • Increased purchase of GreenPower for streetlighting to 100 per cent.
  • Completed the Living Green with LESS program, which offered free energy efficient light globe and water saving showerhead installations to residents. Some 37,872 light globes and 548 showerheads were exchanged.
  • Facilitated the Solar Suburbs Program, assisting 172 residents to obtain discounted solar power installations.
  • Provided 47 financial rebates for solar hot water systems and 328 for solar photovoltaic panels to residential homes.
  • Invested $50,000 to incorporate sustainable energy initiatives in Council buildings.
  • Invested $100,000 to install solar power generation at Blackburn Lake Sanctuary Visitor Centre and Box Hill Town Hall with a combined total to produce 11 kilowatt hours per day.

Water conservation and quality

  • Invested $100,000 in sustainable water initiatives in Council buildings.
  • Plumbing upgrades at several sites to fit water-saving devices in showers, toilets and hand basins.
  • Installed rainwater tanks at several reserves.
  • Use of recycled water for sports fields and street tree watering.
  • Replaced eight sporting fields with drought- resistant grasses.
  • High pressure wash of township centres using recycled water.
  • Use of ‘soaker’ – a recycled product to soak up and clean up oil and fuel spills, preventing it from washing into stormwater drainage and river systems.
  • Use of recycled water for street sweeping and drainage jet pressure machine.

Resource efficiency, waste and recycling

  • Increased diversion of waste from landfill and increased garden organics service.
  • Used recycled materials and products in works programs.

Natural environment

  • Replaced annual floral displays in Council’s gardens with drought tolerant perennials.
  • Sustainable landscape design integrated into the design and construction of public spaces, particularly water sensitive urban design.

Buildings, infrastructure and planning

  • Engaged Grojan Consultants to undertake a long term Sustainable Management and Development Plan for sporting grounds and associated
    facilities.
  • Developed local Environmentally Sustainable Design Policy to encourage sustainable development in the municipality.

Education and community engagement

  • Implemented the innovative Sustainable Ambassadors program for the Chinese- speaking community, including resource efficiency workshops and behaviour change training.
  • Recognised local businesses, homes, community groups and schools for their ongoing sustainability achievements as part of Council’s annual Sustainability Awards.
  • Commenced garden programs with the children of long day care centres. A number of centres are endeavouring to grow vegetables that can be used by the centre cooks in the preparation of the children’s meals.

Sustainability policy, leadership and reporting

  • Contractors with sustainable initiatives are preferred across Council’s operations.
  • Council’s continued commitment to report on its annual green spend as a member of ECO- Buy.
  • Continued implementation of Council’s Greener Office Program.
  • Continued producing publications on 100 per cent recycled paper using 100 per cent renewable energy and preferring waterless printers that use vegetable oil based inks.
  • business cards produced from 100 per cent recycled paper.