Zero waste. Zero carbon. Electric vehicle friendly city.
The City of Greater Bendigo has some ambitious targets in its medium – long-term environmental strategy, but how does it plan to achieve them?
In mid-2016, the previous group of councillors approved a rough strategy and environmental targets by which the tenure of future cohorts will be judged.
Last week, a draft environment strategy action plan was released, which details specifics that may help council reach its targets.
Bendigo council, along with a number of Victorian local governments, have taken the state government’s Take2 pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
This, is in addition to the council’s own aspirational target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to half of 2011 levels by 2020, provide the context in which the said action plan was produced.
To reach a zero carbon target, the council will explore creating a View Street-Barnard Street local energy precinct and investigate opportunities for on-site renewable energy generation at the site.
City of Greater Bendigo manager strategy Trevor Budge recently told the Bendigo Advertiser that precinct, which included the Bendigo Art Gallery and the Bendigo Aquatic Centre, was a big driver of emissions and used a lot of energy.
The city’s latest environmental activities report, released in November, revealed natural gas emissions from council buildings jumped from 615 tonnes in 2015-17 to 1000 tonnes last financial year – an increase of almost 40 per cent.
Both the said buildings were the main contributors to that increase.
Other zero carbon strategies include working with the Community Power Hub to progress towards 100 per cent renewable energy for all Greater Bendigo residents and businesses and financing local renewable energy infrastructure.
On zero waste, the council was “seriously examining” a number of waste-to-energy options, according to Mr Budge, which would form part of the city’s waste review – due to be released in 2017.
Electric vehicles form the crux of the council’s sustainable transport options.
The council plans to “demonstrate leadership in lowering emissions by installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure and introducing electric vehicles into the city’s fleet”, according to the action plan.
Other ecosystem related targets referenced in the report include the restoration of Bendigo Creek and calculating the dollar value of Bendigo’s urban trees.
Councillors will vote on whether to endorse the action plan at a meeting on Wednesday.
Draft Greater Bendigo environment strategy action plan 2017-2021.