Future Directions - Demonstrating the benefits of resource sharing
The City of Hobart is responding to a changing local government landscape which has encouraged councils to look for opportunities to reduce costs and share resources.
The City has established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with one of its neighbouring councils aimed at enhancing regional cooperation and collaboration, sharing information and activities, and undertaking joint advocacy on common issues, with the end result being improved efficiency and service improvements across identified areas of Council.
The MOU with the Glenorchy City Council has established a set of principles to guide future discussions and provided tangible examples of local government working together in the interests of their ratepayers.
Since the first meeting of key Council officers, a number of matters have been progressed through the MOU in areas including plumbing and building services, management of a joint facility owned by the two Councils and a cooperative approach to the development of a catchment management plan for the New Town Rivulet.
The City of Hobartâ€™s General Manager, Nick Heath said, â€˜The Memorandum of Understanding with Glenorchy City Council provides us with an opportunity to explore options to share services as well as investigate ways where we may be able to do things in a more efficient and cost effective manner.â€?
Glenorchy City Councilâ€™s General Manager, Peter Brooks is of a similar mind about the benefits of the MOU.
â€œSince the MOU was officially signed in May this year the working group have met regularly on a monthly basis to identify a range of areas where both Councils feel there are opportunities to make improvements to service delivery which will ultimately benefit residents.â€?
Another significant component of the work being undertaken by the City of Hobart under the auspices of the MOU is the roll out of energy efficient street lights through the Australian Government funded Accelerated Energy Efficient Street Light Roll-Out Project. This project will see more than 2500 mercury vapour lights replaced over three years across the city of Hobart.
Mr Heath said the project would not have been possible without a $3.375M grant from the Australian Government.
â€œThe project will see the installation of energy efficient street lights in both municipalities and will bring about a reduction in the City of Hobartâ€™s electricity and maintenance costs of $75,000 per year and a reduction in energy use of around 456,000kW hours per year.â€?
A component of the street light roll out has recently been completed with the replacement of poles and lights along a section of one of the cityâ€™s busiest arterial routes, Sandy Bay Road. The replacement of the poles and lights at this location together with festoon lighting will see an 80 percent reduction in energy. The new LED lights maintain the required pedestrian lighting level, are dimmable and minimise light spill so they light up an area rather than just flood the area with light.
New LED lights were also installed as part of the redevelopment of Mathers Place, a significant community precinct located in the heart of the city. The redeveloped Mathers Place, which forms part of the City of Hobartâ€™s Inner City Action Plan, has been transformed with the new LED lights adding to the ambience of the area with greatly improved illumination levels allowing for optimal visibility to encourage people to feel safe in this vibrant hub.
The collaborative work the City of Hobart is currently undertaking with neighbouring councils clearly demonstrates that by working together in the interests of community it is possible to achieving savings along with other important community benefits.