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Overview of the Sustainable Townsville Project
(2001 to 2005)
historical information and documentation (only)

Townsville City Sustainability Planning Framework (32kb .pdf)

Sustainable Cities

historical form (2005)
Sustainable City Questionaire (16pages, 130kb .pdf)

A view of Sustainability and ESD
(Ecologically Sustainable Development)


Sustainable Townsville

TCC Sustainable Townsville Program

Initiative promotes overall sustainability in the City and reports on existing historical sustainability initiatives. Assists in development ESD (ecological sustainability) capabilities.

progject originated in partnership with EPA (Sustainable Industries Division).


Potential to reduce city wide costs in provision of services and reduce Greenhouse gas emissions and manage energy consumption. Ensures City is up to date on sustainability issues and seeks to integrate all City wide sustainability initiatives (energy, greenhouse gas, resource efficiency, community partnership, greening and natural resources management). Seeks to raise profile of Townsville as prototype Sustainable City.


Funding from Councils and Australian Government.

see Sustainable Townsville Ltd web site

provide link

Sustainability Initiatives & Proposals in City from 2001-03

TCC Greenhouse Audit

Greenhouse Audit 2002 funded by Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) and Council.



Outline Council greenhouse emissions. Fulfills part of CCP Milestone 1. Accepted as Phase 1 of EPA Partnerships Program (Sustainable Townsville).


Funded by AGO Greenhouse Challenge (2002) and EPA (Sustainable Townsville).  Strengthens the claim to any other funding applications relating to greenhouse/energy.

Sustainable Townsville Investment Initiative (STII)

Proposed internal mechanism for investing in efficiency projects.

Projects be funded by business, industry and government.

Benefits A formal mechanism for advancing sustainability projects. Mechanism by which to attract government funding.

Costs/funding Options for implementation include: no cost to councils, budgeted contributions to specific projects and opportunities for Australian Governmen/business funding.

Sustainability in Engineering Services (historical information only)

Click to visit Sustainability in Engineering ServicesProjects, proposals and initiatives for city engineering services and businesses.

Benefits Groups all historical engineering sustainability initiatives, projects and proposals onto a single web site to demonstrate and promote environmental initiatives of the business units and executive.

Costs/funding Historical projects and proposals funded in partnership with many Council departments, state agencies, commercial business/industry, and community.

Potential STII Projects: Parks Irrigation Projects

cross- section view of buried drippers - Click for details
Installation of sub- surface drippers and monitoring/ auditing irrigated areas.

Benefits Reduced energy costs associated with pumping water; reduced costs associated with purchasing and treating bulk water supply; reduced complaints to water overspill on medians; more effective management of a scarce natural resource; increased availability of water for other industrial uses.

Costs/funding Potential to reduce costs to City for provision of town water. Possible funding opportunities from National water/irrigation organisations and Australian Government.

Material Consumption

Proposal to design and implement a paper efficiency project throughout council offices. Relies on mini-projects developed in conjunction with staff. Plus education of staff about economic and environmental issues re paper. Builds on existing recycling initiative.

Benefits Potential cost savings. In period 2000-01 the then city council consumed 10,104 reams of white A4 Xerox copy paper.
At ~$7 each  = ~$70,000 per annum (2002)

Costs/funding A 25% reduction in paper use would have equalled savings of ~$17,500 per annum.

Potential project costs ~$5,000 (2002)

Funding source: yet to be determined.

Pools and public toilets

Tobruk pool energy audit
Tobruk pool energy audit
Undertaken energy audits on the three pools and a representative sample of 10 public toilets administered by City to seek energy efficiency initiatives.

Benefits Identified water wastage issues in public toilets, plus tariff issues at Kokoda pool. Identified potential for cost savings.



Grid connect small scale wind power (note - 2011 Cyclone Yasi destroyed)

Opportunities to interconnect small vertical axis or horizontal axis wind turbines to the mains grid.

See link to EPA Fact Sheets (.pdf ):
Wind Power in Queensland and
Grid Connect Renewable Energy

In 2003 Townsville Council installed Australia's first grid connected, vertical axis, wind turbine on the Strand.

Visit at:

This wind power project is a demonstration of renewable energy in a public place and supports education (especially schools) and tourism.

Benefits Opportunity for Townsville to show innovation in urban renewable energy.

Costs/funding Various proposals for Wind Turbines.

Property Dept Management Energy Projects

In 2001 various property initiatives were under discussion. May include implementation of energy audit undertaken on Dalrymple Rd Depot in 2001.

Benefits In 2001 many energy saving initiatives were under consideration. Re Dalrymple Depot, potential for reduced energy costs to council by $9300 under consideration for implementation. Reduce greenhouse emissions by 86.4 tons per annum.

Costs/funding Dalrymple Depot project – at no cost to council, funded by Sustainable Townsville. Other projects require consideration for funding or may funded under STII (which would subsequently involve no further cost due to savings and payback period).

Opportunities to reduce expenditure on electricity bills and provide significant greenhouse gas reduction.

City parks project to utilise regionally appropriate grass types and reduce water use

Trial with CSIRO to determine most appropriate grasses for Townsville climate and soils.


Benefits Identification of more appropriate grass types will allow for reduced water consumption while maintaining a lush green parks.

Costs/funding Developed in Conjunction with CSIRO

City water utility Methane Capture projects

Citiwater biogas plant
Cleveland Bay STP biogas plant

Water Utility, in conjunction with Stanwell Corp and Ergon Energy has installed methane burning generators at Mt. St John and Cleveland bay STPs.

Benefits Creates a profit center from what was previously a waste (water utility sells the methane to Stanwell).

Costs/funding Small economic return to Council from selling methane to Stanwell. Project financed by Stanwell.

Major Greenhouse abatement benefit which can be promoted by Council


Energy Audit Clearinghouse

Many previous energy audits undertaken for by Councils in region collated data.

Benefits Provides a reference for energy projects.

Costs/funding No cost to City Councils. Potential to be funded through variety of mechanisms including the Sustainable Townsville Ltd Fund and Low Carbon Australia initiatives.

Toyota Prius (petrol/electric hybrid car) and smal diesel purchases

TCC Toyota Prius
TCC Toyota Prius

TCC and CoT purchased Toyota Prius or Honda Civic hybrids for fleet cars in order to promote sustainable transport options in Townsville and demonstrate hybrid car technology, pollution abatement, and greenhouse gas reduction.

Benefits Demonstrations showed the cost/benefits of hybrid cars and small energy efficient cars and light diesels. Both Councils demonstrated leadership in Local Government in Queensland. Reduce fuel consumption. Opportunity to promote the sustainable vehicles environmental & sustainability events.

Costs/funding First petrol electric hybrid vehicle was funded by the then EPA Sustainable Townsville Program.

Biodiesel trials

In 2003-04 a number of biodiesel trials were undertaken to test commercial viability in Townsville.

Benefits A trial conversion of vehicle fleet to biodiesel could off-set City greenhouse emissions by 2950 tons.  Significant health benefits to Townsville residents for B20:  90% reduction in carcinogenic air pollutants from Council diesel powered vehicles.

Costs/funding Small difference in price of biodiesel v. normal diesel anticipated (maybe 10c/litre). Significant health benefits from use of the fuel.

Townsville Bikeways

Vitit the Townsville bikeways page
Townsville and Thuringowa city programs to develop and promote a network of on-road and off-road bikeways throughout Townsville, linking suburbs to the CBD and recreational areas (eg. Ross River Parkway and Upper Ross bike and pedestrian network).

35 kms are already built: University / Riverside Gardens/Cranbrook and Upper Ross from Riverway.

Benefits Promotes Townsville as a liveable, healthy and clean-green City. Promotes opportunity for healthy physical and recreational activities for Townsville residents. Assists to reduce traffic congestion by promoting alternative transport. Assists to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Costs/Funding: Council budgets of the time.


Travel Smart - Click to visit

Joint projects between many different organisational staff in Townsville and Queensland Transport with support Sustainable Townsville Program.

Includes car pooling, bus transport. Travelsmart coordinator will conduct training and assessment for project in respective organisations.

Benefits  Assists to reduce costs to organisations for provision of parking spaces. Demonstrates cities interest in sustainable transportation. Assists to reduce vehicular pollution and greenhouse emissions.

Costs/funding Jointly funded organisations and Queensland Transport

Greenhouse Trees for Fleet

Tree and shrub planting offsets the greenhouse emissions associated with Fleet fuel consumption.

Community planting across cities of at least 12,000 trees per annum and accounting for third of each Council’s vehicle emissions.

Potential to expand in the future to foster further offsets

Benefits Demonstrates city is active in addressing greenhouse emissions.

Assists community and organisations to develop capacity in managing greenhouse emissions.

Calculation = 17 trees per car per annum to cover greenhouse emissions of standard car

Costs/funding Existing tree plantings and various Council and Landcare tree planting programs

Council kerbside recycling Program

Townsville and Thuringowa Councils contracted Visy to operate a MERF (until 2009) to ensure  greater efficiency in use of recyclable wastes.

Benefits Reduced waste to landfill. Increased lifespan of landfills.  Generates jobs from what was once a waste.

Costs/funding Paid for by both Councils of the time. Increases lifespan of Landfills and provides a reduction Greenhouse gas.

Methane capture from Landfills

Proposed projects to capture methane from Landfills. Landfill consultants and contractors have been investigating all Townsville regional landfills for Councils waste services departments.

Benefits Opportunity for community to reduce our collective greenhouse emissions.

Complementary to citywide recycling and greenwaste programs.

Sustainability in road works - Construction Waste

Project seeks to identify alternative waste management opportunities for road construction wastes. A number of initiatives undertaken to date. Investigations continue.

Benefits Opportunity to reduce environmental and economic cost associated with dealing with road construction waste. Promotes council in natural resource management.

Costs/funding Works departments and Transport authorities

Managing Stormwater Quality (1998-2002) and Waterways

Visit the TCC Urban StormWater Projects
Louisa Creek gross pollutant trap

Numerous projects that improve urban stormwater quality and waterway management in tropics.

Benefits Demonstrates Councils as innovators in sustainable management of wetlands & water quality. Develops technology specific to Townsville climate.

Costs/funding Funded by Council, NHT Clean Seas and Urban Stormwater Initiative. Project coordinated by environmental team of time and road works dept.

Project initiated highly successful wateway monitoring by local community groups (Creekwatch/drainwatch) in partnership with Conservation Volunteers Australia - CVA.


Water Utility hydrological Cycle Projects

Water purification projects that allow for water reuse. Plus use of innovative modern technology for water purification (eg. Reverse osmosis).

Benefits Develops technical capabilities of council in water management. Ensures council meets EPA obligations and provides top quality service to ratepayers.

Costs/funding Reduce costs to council in provision of town water and waste water treatment.

Integrated Environmental Management & Sustainability Program

Coucil IEMS Officers coordinating and implementing a Council wide Environmental Management System and training for EM and Sustainability. Includes Coordination, Monitoring & Reporting.

Benefits Serves as the framework for monitoring or administering any formal sustainability structure within council.

Costs/funding An existing TCC & CoT program.

Clean and Green Initiatives (2001-2005)

Council projects promoting Townsville as a city with a healthy environment, and include:

  • Greening Townsville;
  • Sustainable Townsville;
  • State of Environment
  • Fishwatch Committee &
  • Healthy Cities Plan. 

Benefits Demonstrates heavy industry can coexist with a Clean unpolluted city. Highlights Townsville the clean green city.

Costs/funding Council funded initiative.

Townsville State of Environment Report

SOE home page

TCC report integrating State of Environment Reporting format with modern user friendly communications technology: the Internet.

Banksia Awards 2003 Category Finalist


Benefits Demonstrates Council’s commitment to environmental management; sustainability and community partnership to the world through the world wide web.

  • Based on OECD and Environment Australia Environmental Reporting Framework (Pressure-Condition-Response across environmental/sustainability themes.
  • Creates a scientific and community baseline of environmental performance (Status of Environment)
  • Also promotes colours and textures of the dry tropics to the world.

Costs/funding Produced by Council. Banksia Finalist 2003 (premier national environment awards in Australia).

TCC Healthy Cities Plan (2005)

Environmental Health Services (EHS) 2005 initiative plan being developed by Councils with assistance from Griffith University and community identifying holistic health issues for Townsville. Identifies excellent social linkages with environment

Benefits Ensures gaps in provision of health services are identified. Demonstrates link between human/environmental and ecological health of the City.

Costs/funding Developed by Council (EHS).

Environmental Conservation Strategy for Townsville & RIKES Reports (1988-1993)

TCC Conservation Strategy 19931988-1993 Council reports and community strategies outlining initiatives to promote environmental conservation in Townsville.
Living today for tomorrow report

Benefits Illustrates important areas for Council consideration to promote Environmental conservation in Council and in the City.

Remains a benchmark reference identifying Council’s drive to sustainability in the community

Costs/funding Developed by Council

Natural Assets Database &  Register

Visit the Townsville Regional Assets Database
Register of natural assets in Towsville Local Government Area. This includes botanical, zoological, natural heritage and aesthetic assets.

Benefits Forms a pillar of Sustainability along with SOE; Health Cities; Vibrant Sustainable Communities; Townsville-Thuringowa a Liveable Community.

Integrating social with ecological sustainability

Joint projects to build on social capacity into environmental projects with Community.

  1. Project “Sustain
  2. Project “Respect” is an initiative of Working On It company.

Objective is to further develop links to incorporate social dimension into Environmental & Community Sustainability and cross link to three other TCC Clean & Green Sustainability Programs: Healthy Cities; Sustainable Townsville; and Townsville SOE.

Benefits Assists councils and community to strengthen social capital within Townsville.

Demonstrates community based commitment to social aspects of sustainability.

Strengthens and reinforces existing social and environmental projects already underway.

Costs/funding Tied in with existing projects of the period of time:

  • Sustainable Townsville
  • Healthy Cities Plan, &
  • Vibrant Communities

Sustainability Education, Awareness & Promotional Activities - dated 2001-05

Sustainable Alternatives in Urban Development and Commercial Building Industry

Raising awareness of urban developments utilising sustainable preferred development solutions. For example Nobby Head Picnic Bay, Magnetic Island.
(a Sustainable Townsville Program promotion)

Benefits Assists the urban development and commercial building industry to promote sustainability in new subdivisions and commercial developments – one of Australia's key greenhouse emission sectors.

Costs/funding Funded by Councils with in-kind case studies provided by urban development industry.

EcoFiesta & Environment Week (until 2008, prior to amalgamation) and Riverway Expo

Eco Fiesta
Townsville’s and Thuringowas annual celebrations of World Environment day, week events include:

  • Ecofiesta
  • Community Meet & Greet ... to celebrate their environmental volunteerism
  • Riverway Environmental Expo

Benefits Public education on sustainability issues, showcasing local community groups. Demonstrations of green technology. Announcement of City Environmental Awards.

Costs/funding Funded by Councils and supported by NGOs.

Ecofiesta Waste Audit and EcoSpeakers

Ecofiesta waste auditWaste audit undertaken of Ecofiesta 2002 and 2003. In 2002, speakers were bought in to discuss greenhouse/ energy efficiency.

Benefits Determines options for sustainable waste management at Ecofiesta and in other council sponsored events.

Costs/funding Funded by Community Services.

Community Natural Resources Management plans (2002)

Community Natural Resources Mgt Plan T-ThDeveloped by Local Landcare groups, plans consider whole catchment whole of community Natural Resource Management.

Includes Council partnerships and support to Haughton River Catchment Planning

Benefits Assists in the conservation & sustainable community planning of Townsville. Ensures long term sustainable development of the regions Natural resources.

Costs/funding Developed  with NHT funding. Supported by Councils (TCC & CoT).

Waste Education programs

Visit Waste Education Initiatives in Townsville Numerous waste education programs and initiatives that improve knowledge of waste management in Townsville

Noth Queensland Waste education bus

Benefits Promotes waste management to Townsville ratepayers. Assists in reduced waste to landfill. Assists in deferring costs to council in relation to landfill. WALOR, LAWMAC Bus, Don’t Waste Townsville.

Costs/funding Some initiatives funded by Councils (WALOR at schools – EMS sustainability initiative), LAWMAC bus funded by industry, other initiatives undertaken by Council under contract by VISY.

Greenhouse Today

Presentation to city managers detailing history, science, politics, projected effects and solutions of global warming.


Benefits Generates understanding about the political and economic threats and opportunities associated with the global warming debate. Place energy management in in a broader context.

Costs/funding Funded through Sustainable Townsville.

Sustainability Today (2002-2007)

View Sustainability for dummies Powerpoint Show
Presentation to TCC staff (Parks)

Presentations were made to council staff and managers about contemporary sustainability issues. Presented in 2001 to 25 staff of Financial Services, and 8 staff of Parks Services, 6 staff from Planning)

Benefits Informed Council staff and managers of global sustainability issues and identifies how these can be tackled at the local level. Part of Sustainable Townsville initiative and enlists their support for the projects.

Costs/funding Funded via Sustainable Townsville (EPA of time)

EPA Sustainable Industries (historical program 2001-2005)

EPA Sustainable Industries case study – TCC Environmental Sustainability (.pdf 200kb)

Brochure on TCC Energy efficiency, sustainability and renewable energy initiatives.

Benefits Highlights initiatives undertaken by TCC and Townsville community to promote energy efficiency.

Costs/funding Funded by EPA Sustainable Industries

Sustainable Townsville website

Sustainable Townsville websiteDevelop a hyperlink from the Townsville SOE website - Opens a page (this page) from which the Sustainable Townsville program can be viewed.

Benefits Public access to the community based Sustainable Townsville program. Sustainable Townsville website will community, school students, business and government access to information about Sustainability and the projects initiated in Townsville.

Costs/funding Funded by Sustainable Townsville and supporters.

Sustainable Housing for the Tropics

Visit Sustainable Housing for the Tropics

Initiative of Ciy Councils in Queensland and Townsville to promote sustainable houses with developers and construction in the community and via codes in the City town plans.

Benefits Assists councils and communities to promote sustainability via the building industry – one of Australia's greenhouse emission sectors.

Costs/funding Government and industry funded projects.

Schools Environmental programs

Visit Town High Sustainabilty
Townsville High School Sustainability Programs

Numerous projects by schools and government that promote environmental conservation and other sustainability initiatives in  schools.

Benefits Ensures Townsville children develop a better understanding and awareness of environment issues and solutions.

Costs/funding Some initiatives funded via Councils and schools, funding from industry/business sponsorship (eg. Delfin/BHP Billiton).

Renewable energy education

Acquaint government officers and community with the opportunities and benefits associated with modern grid interactive solar power systems and vertical access wind turbines (i.e. Property staff, Town Planners and building certification officers).

Benefits Reduced Greenhouse emissions. Lower energy costs for homes, Council buildings and business/industry.

Promote local industry and create jobs. Stimulate local renewable energy industry.

Costs/funding Promotion funded by Sustainable Townsville project (EMS)

Promote with free consultation from Battery World

Bushcare/Land Care and Community Catchment Management Programs

Community partnership trailerCouncil (TCC & CoT) community coordinated habitat restoration projects often in partnership.

Both Councils provided annual funding for Landcare & Catchment Centre.

Benefits Promotes integration in the community by involving many different groups. Demonstrates cities commitment to biodiversity conservation and provides opportunities to promote sustainability in the community.

Costs/funding Part funded by Councils and via Commonwealth grants.

Greening Townsville (TCC funded project 2003-2007)

Greening Townsville campaignTCC council project promoting shade trees in open space, public areas, bushland & roads Townsville. Promotes use of local native flora in landscaping along with high profile and attractive exotics (eg. Raintrees).

Includes community revegetation projects supported by Council (EMS)

Benefits Makes Townsville a more liveable city. Improves aesthetics of City. Shades roads and paved areas cooling the City.

Costs/funding TCC and CoT councils funded community greening projects.

Just, Vibrant & Sustainable Communities (Framework)

Community based council services support provided to development of a community sustainability framework (for progressing & measuring community wellbeing) for Local Government Community Services Association Australia Inc.

Plus DLG conference in July, 2003 in Townsville.

Benefits Demonstrates a cities commitment to social sustainability, and developing social capital.

Development of a Framework for Progressing & Measuring Community Wellbeing which focuses on social aspects and includes economic and environmental management considerations (under Local Agenda 21 and Natural Step frameworks)

Costs/funding Link to Just & Vibrant Communities Conference

Other Sustainability Initiatives in Townsville - Dated 2001-03

Research and Educational Facilities

Townsville has many world class educational and research facilities (JCU/AIMS/CRC REEF/CRC Savannas/ATCFR).

Benefits Any sustainability research or development projects can be supported by the intellectual resources latent in the research and education facilities.

Costs/funding Much federal funding comes to Townsville to support these research institutions.

Proposed TPA wind project

a vision of the Townsville  Port
Townsville Port "the vision"

Proposed infrastructure development project involving construction of 2 – 8 wind turbines  on the TPA reclaimed land. Requires community support to ensure financial sustainability of project.

Pre-feasability study indicates project can work once the final hurdles are cleared.

Benefits Should project proceed, the MM70 turbines would make a powerful icon for Townsville’s potential as Prototype Sustainable City.

Also has value adding potential to sustainable tourism in opportunities in Townsville – note Windy Hill (Ravenshoe) receives 600 vehicle visitors per weekend

Costs/funding Requires exploration of funding from Commonwealth for energy projects (ie. AGO)

Potential for Townsville to host the most powerful wind turbines in Australia. Excellent opportunity to badge Townsville as Sustainable City.

Queensland Govt (Treasury) support was necessary to bring the project to fruition.

Alternative waste water technology

Various waste water treatment technologies can be found in Townsville including some locally developed technology (Gough Plastics).

Benefits Resources are on hand to develop non sewer wastewater systems and to integrate these into urban development proposals.

Costs/funding Council assisted in the development of one system, the Hybrid toilet. Other firms such as VRM are based locally. Other systems are installed by local tradesmen.

Solar hot water commercialisation

Hot Harry - a unique solar hot water system

Hot Harry

Local firm (Gough Plastics) has developed a unique solar hot water system. That is due to be release to the market by end 2003.

Benefits Demonstrates Townsville as a leader in development of innovative renewable energy technology.

Developed through a $1,000,000 grant from Australian Greenhouse Office.

Visioning for Sustainable Urban Development

Initial design work undertaken on a sustainable urban development at Fairfield Waters estate by C&B Group Consultants.

Benefits Demonstrates that sustainable urban design is possible in Townsville using off the shelf technology and local expertise.

Costs/funding Project was financed by C&B Group. If project had proceeded, may have offered an alternative model of urban development for City – with potential to reduce costs to Council for providing services.

Provides planning demonstration for future sustainable urban development projects

Townsville High School Renewable Energy Technology

Visit Townsville State High School Sustainability ProgramTownsville High School has developed an innovative hybrid renewable energy project that compares two different types of solar panels and a wind turbine.

Benefits Provides a baseline for hybrid renewable energy systems. Demonstrates Townsville as a leader in innovation and sustainable energy. Promotes the development of urban renewable energy systems.

Costs/funding Sponsorship gained from local businesses. Developed as a schools educative project.

Nickel Refinery sustainability projects

Queensland Nickel Refinery of period 2003-05 undertook a variety of sustainability projects involving water and energy efficiency, public education, atmospheric science.

Benefits Demonstrated sustainability initiatives associated with large mineral processing plants.

Costs/funding Demonstrates best practice in some areas of the metals processing industry.

EPA Sustainable Communities (2001-2005)

TEL/EPA initiative to deliver a Sustainable Communities program (“Townsville-Thuringowa a Liveable Community”)

Incorporates liaison and involvement with city administrators and managers plus a number of other Townsville organisations.

Benefits Networking with business and industry on Sustainable Townsville projects

Program develops clear picture of community aspirations on Sustainability. Assists in development of action plans.

Costs/funding Funding made available by EPA Sustainable Industries for Milestones 1 and 2. Further funding may be available subject to the success of the project.

Links to Sustainable Townsville; SOE & Healthy Cities Plan

Wetlands Grasslands Foundation for the Cromarty.

In conjunction with Texas University, a foundation is established to ensure the long term ecological health and investigation of sustainability of wetlands and development opportunities (proposed for Cromarty Wetlands a Wetland of National Importance).

Benefits An internationally recognised wetland becomes protected, offers sustainable tourism opportunities and contributes internationally to Townsville’s Clean and Green Image.

Funded available from Commonwealth Natural Heritage Trust and conditional on complimentary funding from Queensland Government

State Development – Net Gain for Sustainability

State Development in conjunction with US Professor use the Net Gain process on the proposed Port Access road.

Benefits Illustrates an innovative mechanism to ensure sustainable outcomes of development projects.

Costs/funding Possibility to assist ensuring development proposal meet triple bottom line benefits.