Future Directions - From the City of Holdfast Bay, South Australia

Article image - Future Directions - From the City of Holdfast Bay, South Australia City of Holdfast Bay Education and Projects Officer - Environment, Shani Wood (left) and Coordinator Environmental and Coastal Assets, Tanya Roe (right) with Dover Kindergartenís Meredith Retalick and kindy kids in their veggie patch, part-funded by a City of Holdfast Bay Greening Our Community Grant.

Community participation supports a sustainable environment.

How, as a small South Australian metropolitan coastal Council, do you create a sustainable environment?

At the City of Holdfast Bay, we know we can’t do it alone: it requires the whole community.

And we believe this approach helped us secure the 2014 Keep South Australia Beautiful (KESAB) Most Sustainable City Award.

“Council’s ‘Our Place’ strategic plan was developed through close interaction with our community,” City of Holdfast Bay Mayor Stephen Patterson says.

“They told us they value their environment and they’ve shown us, in many ways over many years, that they want to be actively involved in managing our city’s environmental impacts.”

Our Eco-City Plan (2012–15) has driven a wide range of environmental initiatives, including:

  • improving our buildings’ energy efficiency, saving over 300 000 kWh and 256 tonnes of CO2 to date
  • improving erosion control in our gullies and sand dunes
  • introducing a convenient food-to-green waste program for all Holdfast Bay households
  • developing a bin inspection and incentive program, that has since been adopted by 10 other SA councils and three WA councils
  • implementing stormwater master plans for water-sensitive urban design
  • installing LED streetlights and almost halving the energy consumption along our Jetty Road Glenelg retail and tourism precinct.

“This work stands us in good stead with our community, but it’s our partnerships, educational programs and support for community-driven initiatives that really resonate throughout our city,” Mayor Patterson says.

Our partnerships amplify our work and cultivate a strong sense of ownership in our collective achievements: Our environmental volunteers contribute over 1,000 hours each year of weeding and planting indigenous plants in our coastal dunes and natural areas; our recent partnership with the Commonwealth Government’s Green Army Programme adds a workforce of 10 people to our dune care team for six months.

Educational programs and workshops
Educational programs inspire people to take local action: We work with two local schools that use our dunes as outdoor classrooms; we tour people through local recycling plants; we run Green Living Workshops on topics ranging from worm farms and composting to natural skincare – and provide take-home starter kits and information.

Supporting community initiatives
Our Greening our Community grants empower community organisations to implement their own environmental projects: We’ve funded numerous native gardens, vegetable gardens, green walls, chicken coops, rainwater tanks and solar power panels.

“Our environmental strategy is about both leading and empowering our community,” Mayor Patterson says.

“People want to act, to be involved in protecting and enhancing their environment – and we’ll continue to provide opportunities to enable effective participation.”