With local government elections due in October 2012 thought it a good time to reflect on some of the new initiatives/policies that have been highlights of this term so far and that have been featured in previous postings. They all have strong environmental, economic and community features.
Bicycling Strategy - first strategy in a decade - fully funded ($2m) and implemented over the next 3/4 years-will improve and enhance amnenity and safety for all forms of transport.
Bin Downsizing - by reducing to a predominantly 120 litre rubbish bin our council has moved from having one of the worst diversion to landfill rates to a median range across the metro area- the very sucessfull uptake of this scheme has also significantly increased our recycling and green waste rates. With landfill state charges skyrocketing this change has saved GE in the order of $300k pa.
Carbon Reduction Plan - first ever plan -draft currently out for community comment.
Childcare - first time funds ($1.6m) in over a decade allocated for new facilities- to replace existing centre at Elsternwick and sorely needed with the lack of childcare in the area.
Caulfield Racecourse - for the first time in agreement with the MRC a public park and amenities is being developed in the centre of the course- whilst acknowledging there are shortcomings,this is still a significant improvement.
Ewaste - first time this problem has been recognised and addressed with three successful collection days held over the past year and further actions listed in the ESS (Environmental Sustainability Strategy) for this year.
Energy Efficiency - for the first time an energy audit was conducted on six major council sites resulting in measures fully implemented that increased efficiency by upto 30% and reduced costs.
Tree Protection Register - first time tree protection on private property endorsed-register guidelines being developed at present.
Streetlighting - $2m allocated over next two years for changeover to energy efficient T5 globes across whole municipality; will reduce council's emissions by upto 14%. On current rising electricity costs- a payback period of 6/7 years is envisaged.
Sustainable Transport Strategy- first time a strategy has been developed-moves focus away from cars and importantly includes a walking strategy component. This is a very timely with traffic congestion an ever increasing problem.
All these initiatives I feel will be of great benefit to our communities especially in the years ahead and the whole Councillor group deserve credit for supporting these important changes.