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Accelerated Sustainability Planning

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Appendix 2 - Townsville Have Your Say Sustainability

Briefing / Focus Group

Wednesday 19 May, 2004
Panorama House, Castle Hill.

100 THYSG (Townsville Have Your Say Group) constituents were invited via mail, there were 12 Attendees.

Participants were thanked for making the drive to top of Castle hill.

The choice of Panorama House was deliberate due to the elevation – seeing all of Townsville, and being/thinking strategically etc – about doing something special and breaking the mould

Apologies from Deputy Mayor who was not able to be in attendance

THYS participants were informed that this particular briefing was consistent with two other Sustainability Briefings which had been conducted today (those being a Councilor /Executive Officers Sustainability Briefing, and an Executive Business Partners briefing.

By introduction it was reiterated that Council aspires to become a sustainable city – and that this council has already being doing lots of stuff – bikeways, walking tracks etc

And the consultant (M Lunn) was assisting Council to develop a sustainability framework and will outline a process for sustainability. This THYS process was an important component and the results would be feed into Councils sustainability planning considerations.

Personal introductions were made by each THYS participant. Each participant was asked to contribute something about themselves and why they were here or what they were interested in.


  • Volunteer – (Citizen of the year)

  • 11 years in Townsville – work with Government Departments eg EPA soils / Vegetation mapping

  • 37 years in Townsville – background in education – conservationist - grid connect house

  • 11 years in Townsville – NQCC – volunteer activist

  • Retired to Townsville 6 years ago – formerly worked in the Northern Territory in natural resource management

  • Grew up cane farming in Ingham – now a family business – likes environment – still service the cane industry through plastics business

  • Marine biologist / museum

  • Former surveyor and volunteer with CVA (Conservation Volunteers Australia)

  • 10 yrs in Townsville – Tropical architect and worked with other businesses – views included that Townsville is a geographic and economic location with opportunity to make a choice about how it handles the future

  • 9 years in Townsville from Brisbane – Brisbane is big with lots of traffic – involved in the landcare – even if leave Townsville would probably come back

  • Former exploration geologist – Pilbara iron and then Qld for gold – has health problems – he likes Townsville and will stay (concerned about Telstra removing shade trees from his road)


Brief background to sustainability
  • AtKisson Associate (Consultant) Michael Lunn – reviewed some of the literature and case examples presented over the last few days.

  • What is sustainability – limits to growth – 1972 Donella Meadows – the planet has a limit to growth on the planet – Problem: exponential growths: population, pollution incidents, jobs being created – all exponential curves beg a question – what is the limit to growth?

  • Sustainability is about getting the dollars without the harm

  • Sustainability is about providing a future for our kids

  • Keep sustainability simple – economically viable, environmentally sound, socially responsible

  • We all have got only one planet and it is a closed system – with a thin atmosphere – and sustainability is about meeting our needs without compromising our future

  • People have to shift there activities and actions for benefit of all and importantly markets are great places for interaction and offer possibility for future generations

  • For example even this evening session at Panorama House is using Ergon’s Clean Energy and this will continue over the subsequent two days of the sustainability intensive workshop with Council staff and business/community partners

  • Question is - who can say what are the needs of the future?

  • Is there alarmism? Ozone / Maldives going under the ocean – lots of studies, climate change, some conflicting evidence drier / wetter etc

  • Quality of science is important and there is exponential growth in CO2 in the atmosphere

  • Lots of Governments wait and see – for example – Australia and USA are not in Kyoto

  • Overall advice to Government is that global warming is real and we need to be accounting for it

  • Council is looking at sustainability because the Mayor recognises the importance of this and the desire of Council is to build on programs that are already in place

  • Sustainability is about making Townsville one of the greatest small to medium cities in the world

  • And sustainable development is a process of change toward sustainability

  • The consultant suggests that there are Seven Principles of Sustainability. These principles include – knowing what you have got, understanding systems (water, power, waste, health systems etc), developing innovations; thinking long term; and developing strategies to implement.

  • By knowing your system you can make appropriate changes for example Council Parks Services are changing their irrigation practices over time and buying soil water monitors and weather stations so as to understand the soil and water relationships in order to not over irrigate. This is a resource dependent and happens over time.

  • At another level it is suggested that whilst Canberra can make decisions about grey water recycling we are in Townsville and not Canberra. Thus we have very different circumstances

  • Council sees sustainability in sewerage treatment being done via a Central Plant rather than individual on-site treatment and grey water reuse – this is due to our climate (intensive wet season), poor soils and vegetative matter (lowlands and hills)

  • Finally it is all about - Systems analysis = consider money in bank, payee ATM credit card all the elements of the system – the balance is the stock, the in and out is the flow


What Have Your Say group said

The responses and discussion of the Have Your Say Group was manually recorded. This information is displayed below under the following headings:

  • Urban Communities and Sustainability
  • Transport
  • Energy
  • Urban Water Management
  • Greening and Shade
  • Urban Development and Building
  • Transport


Urban Communities and Sustainability

Suggestion for HYSG to have their own sustainability forum
Requires - discipline – commitment – trust – components of the agreement

Do you think that sustainability is important in Townsville? YES!

Awareness – that sustainability is important

School curriculums are chock a block with info – difficult to put more stuff in there (COMMUNITY)

Opportunity for Council to make a big difference and Civic pride to come in

Reducing the lifestyle in other places maybe Townsville more attractive for others

Planned greenbelts should be retained against pressures for development (eg London greenbelt lost land to the M25 motorway)

Stocklands – other shopping centres cannot cross between the two safely


Practical hands on info about save money eg solar hot water systems and shower roses (ENERGY)

How can people be outdoors for health without skin cancer shaded walkways

How to do greenhouse – 300 days of sun and no solar panels

Pine rivers shire mandates solar panels – Townsville should do the same

Homes built for tropics with solar heating – Council strategy re solar hot water systems

If enough people get solar hot water systems they will become trendy

Washing machine – not much when I was a kid, now everyone has everything

Subdivision design in relation to energy

5-10 times the price of power in Holland and no regulations on design but generally very efficient homes

Future planning is critical

Townsville is unique position in that it can plan for the future

Urban Water Management

Need to look at water use – water recycling sewer harvesting – take bits of sewer, strip out the water for local use
Watering the footpath is no good

Council wastes water
Why use purified town water for all purposes
Can we recycle grey waters

Council is one of the most innovative in water reduction technology

Greening and Shade

trees planted along bikeways –
shade trees for walking to promote walking. Good to have good shade even if not a local native Mulch for nature strips – residents don’t want to mow and water
The Mayor has the big shade tree project
Concerns raised about trees in streets being cut down or badly pruned (“ I live in Gordon Street – and beautiful big trees were cut down by Telstra. Whereas Ergon has a street tree policy.

Telstra should go underground

Urban Development and Building

Density how many live in the suburban house – people should accept a higher density living to reduce sprawl – how to convince people that they don’t need 600m2 – green belts – corridor along river
Promote high density
Green developments are beautiful and can be done
Moral Court a shambles got demolished and replaced by something better
Lets go back to breezy Queenslanders
Today’s houses are hot stuffy boxes and even hotels are hot and stuffy
Preserving options for the future is good if the plan is continued through thus the public must be bought along

Building code of Australia has come out requiring minimum standards

Noosa wants to do good building design but was stopped by the State Government

State Govt stopped the changes because they see the Commonwealth as regulating buildings through codes. Block on Noosa was done via IPA


Need a good public transport system needs to be cheap cheaper the fare, the more likely it will be used
Electric monorail, light rail
Public transport corridors
Free tourist buses or free loops to key areas
Need to look long term for public transport
Opportunity to take bike or the ferry
We need an integrated ticketing system for public transport
Turning lanes are too short, roundabout are hopeless – what is Council saying to the State Government about it?



Executive Summary

1. Introduction
2. Building the Pyramid – the levels
3. Workshop Results
4. Indicators and Linkages
5. Systems Mapping and Analysis Level
6. Innovations and Strategy
Appendix 1 - Attendees List
Appendix 2 - THYS Sustainability Briefing / Focus Group <- You are here
Appendix 3 - Change Agents Sustainability Training
(Assets, Concerns, Values and Visions Linkages)
Appendix 4 - Townsville Sustainability Compass Index (Indicators Sheets)
Appendix 5 - Three Power-point presentations:
      1. Council Executive Briefing
      2. Business and Community Partners Executive Briefing
      3. Townsville Have Your Say (THYS) sustainability presentation

Next: >> Appendix 3 - Change Agents Sustainability Training (Assets, Concerns, Values and Visions Linkages) <<

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