Environmental

The environment that people live in has a significant impact upon their health. Over the last century the health of the Australian population overall has improved significantly. People are living longer and in better health. It is estimated that much of the increase in longevity seen in Australia is attributable to environmental factors.

The provision of clean water, good food supplies, adequate sewerage systems, waste management, good housing and public infrastructure all help to protect public health.

THE NATURAL STEP AND COUNCIL

At the 20 May, 2008 Council meeting, Council formerly adopted the Natural Step Framework, to be used as a planning tool to enable Council to integrate environmental and social considerations into strategic decisions as well as daily operations.

WHAT IS THE NATURAL STEP FRAMEWORK?

The Natural Step is a Framework for setting out ‘system conditions’ for the sustainability of human activities on earth.

The Four System Conditions... ...Reworded as the Four Principles of Sustainability Mount Gambier Context
In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing: To become a sustainable society we must... For Mount Gambier to become a sustainable city we must...
 1.  Concentrations of substances  from the earth's crust (such as  fossil CO2 and heavy metals).  Eliminate our contribution to  the  progressive build-up of  substances  extracted from  the earth's crust.  Improve local air quality, use renewable  energy  (preferably local) instead of fossil fuels, reduce  and eventually eliminate our use of materials  derived from  mining, reuse and recycle  materials.
 2.  Concentrations of substances  produced by society (such as  antibiotics and endocrine  disruptors).  Eliminate our contribution to  the progressive build-up of  chemicals and compounds  produced by society.  Reduce and eventually eliminate sending  waste to landfill; cease polluting local water, air  and soil; use natural and biodegradable  materials (preferably local) instead of  petroleum based and synthetic materials.
 3.  Degradation by physical means  (such as deforestation and  draining of groundwater  tables).  Eliminate our contribution to the  progressive physical  degradation and destruction  of  nature and natural  processes.  Not harvest native bushland, not over-extract  groundwater, not over-harvest local fisheries,  use recycled materials instead of virgin  resources, cease polluting.
 4.  In that society, people are not  subject to conditions that  systematically undermine their  capacity to meet their needs.  Eliminate our contribution to  conditions that undermine  people's capacity to meet  their basic human needs.  Have reasonable access to amenities, good  quality and varied open space, opportunities  for passive recreation - including active  transport, not impede people's abiity to grow  their own food if they choose to.

For more information see the official Natural Step website: http://www.thenaturalstep.org/our-approach/

WHAT IS COUNCIL DOING?

The City of Mount Gambier has made a strong commitment to embrace environmental sustainability. Council has become very aware of its environment and that of the community and wishes to be a local leader in demonstrating environmental sustainability actions and environmental compliance. Council is not attempting to take one large step to sustainability overnight, but to adopt a model that encourages continual progress in the right direction.

Over the years Council has been using the "Natural Step Framework" to assist in working towards achieving environmental sustainability. The Natural Step Framework can be used as a planning tool to enable Council to integrate environmental and social considerations into strategic decisions as well as daily operations. For more information about the Natural Step Framework please refer to the section on the website.

As a response to the importance of environmental sustainability, Council established an Environmental Sustainability Sub-Committee (ESSC) to assist Council to achieve its environmental sustainability goals and objectives. The ESSC comprises Cr Ian Von Stanke, Cr Desmond Mutton, Cr Penelope Richardson and Cr Sonya Mezinec.

The City of Mount Gambier Strategic Plan Beyond 2015, has a strong environmental component and directs the work of the organisation in terms of environmental sustainability.

Some of the City of Mount Gambier's environment and sustainability initiatives include:

  • A recycling program for e-waste (such as computers/printers);
  • Recycling of household batteries and mobile phones;
  • Fluorescent light globe recycling;
  • Developing strategies for the sustainable management of the Valley Lake;
  • Incorporating environmentally sustainable design (ESD) features into the Library and Main Corner buildings;
  • Installing pedestrian solar lights along the walking trail around the Blue Lake;
  • Installing solar panel systems on the Library, Depot, Waste Transfer Station and Carinya Gardens and Aquatic Centre;
  • Purchasing 100% green power for the Library;
  • Purchasing 20% green power for Council's other electricity accounts;
  • Constructing the Library car park to incorporate water sensitive urban design (WSUD)
  • Maintaining a carbon neutral biomass water heating system at the Mount Gambier Aquatic Centre;
  • Installing two 21,000 L rainwater tanks at the Depot to be used for filling and washing machinery;
  • Retrofitting the Depot office and lunch room for energy efficiency;
  • Engaging and education the community on Environmental Sustainability issues.

As part of its commitment to embracing environmental sustainability Council will investigate further projects that will provide environmental benefits to the community.

COMMUNITY GROUPS

There are a variety of community groups in Mount Gambier and the wider region who get involved in the natural environment and sustainability.

Community Action for Sustainability (CAS) is a local sustainability group http://www.communityactionforsustainability.webs.com/

Old Mount Gambier Gaol Community Garden is a local community garden http://sacommunity.org/org/204941-Old_Mount_Gambier_Gaol_Community_Garden_Inc.

Permaculture Mount Gambier - A local group of people interested in permaculture http://sacommunity.org/org/215680-Permaculture_Mount_Gambier_Group

CONTACTS

For Environment and Sustainability related questions contact Council's Environmental Sustainability Officer: Phone (08) 8721 2555 (Select 2) or city@mountgambier.sa.gov.au

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