By TONY FOSTER
THE Brighton Municipality is recognised as one of the most progressive in Tasmania and Council is proud if its many initiatives that not only protect our environment and surroundings, but also save valuable resources and indeed money that can be directed to other services.
As one of the State’s fastest-growing municipalities, Brighton has recognised the need to ensure there is community ownership of how it can be more sustainable and self-sufficient. Council is already doing this by increasing education programs on waste minimisation such as composting home waste, lessening single-use plastic in the home, and encouraging residents to start worm farms. We all know that waste management is a major cost for the community and Brighton, like all councils, is working hard to develop the most efficient systems and practices.
There is much we can do around the home and in coming months we will promote a range of practical ideas to help the community manage its waste footprint. With waste costs increasing and the possibility of levies being introduced, actions we take now to minimise waste and maximise resource recovery will save ratepayers money in the long term.
Council is doing its part as evidenced by the recent installation of the community’s first electric car charging facility at the Council Chambers, available freely during business hours. With the use of electric vehicles growing, this should prove an advantage with those choosing this mode of transport.
In real terms, the new technology lighting will result in a net reduction in Council’s carbon footprint of 36 tonnes of CO2 annually, equating to a 720-tonne saving over the 20-year life span of the fittings. Importantly, it will shave around $90,000 from our electricity bill each year, quickly paying for the cost of the project as well as releasing funds for other services.
As an example of the benefits, the introduction of solar panels on our main buildings achieved a positive ongoing financial return within just three years.
On a practical level, Council is also introducing more tree planting projects throughout the community, planning and building more parks and walking tracks, enhancing streetscapes, and working in collaboration with various groups such as MONA and other communities such as Geeveston Community Garden to build on existing community gardens in Brighton. We also worked with Spring Bay Mill and Hobart Airport to plant 1000 native trees and bushes at Polonia Bridge Park to create a native ecosystem and habitat on the banks of the Jordan River as part of the airport’s carbon accreditation program.
Late last year, Brighton Council unanimously endorsed a Climate Change and Resilience Strategy that attempts to link interactions between the economy, society and the environment to gain the best long-term outcomes for the community. This underpins our approach to Brighton’s future development where we see opportunities to attract industries such as renewable projects feeding local businesses and being part of the ‘green hydrogen’ transition for Tasmania’s road and rail fleet.
Far from being ‘radical greenie ideas’, these are practical and smart business decisions that are good for the community now and will pay big dividends in the future. They embody sensible decision-making to build a robust, resilient and more sustainable future for Brighton and its residents.
They are practical initiatives, clearly within the realm of local government and Brighton is determined to take a lead.
The outcome of our strategy will reduce our carbon footprint, enhance the beauty and appeal of our local environment, attract new industries and people to come here and release valuable financial and human resources for other important community facilities and projects.
By being proactive today, Brighton Council is enhancing our region and safeguarding it for current and future generations. It is protecting all that makes the Brighton Municipality such a great place to live, work, relax and enjoy.