Climate Action Plan
On 14 August 2020, the City of Boroondara commenced the first phase of community consultation to develop a Climate Action Plan. An online community survey is open until 14 September to all who live, work, study or visit Boroondara. The Survey is designed to identify the expectation, priorities, support, and ideas for climate action within the community, and gain insight into existing sustainable practices and efforts in local households.
Council committed to develop a Climate Action Plan in December 2019. The Plan will replace the current 'Our Low Carbon Future Strategy' adopted in 2009, which will end in 2020. This strategy set a target for council to reduce its corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 30-40% and help reduce community emissions by at least 50,000 tonnes CO2-e by 2020. As of 4 May 2020, council committed to a decade-long power purchase agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Boroondara by over 70% compared to a decade ago. As a result, Boorondara's street lights (more than 11,000) and 16 major council buildings now run on local renewable energy supplied by a wind farm in Gippsland, and will until at least 2030. This means that over 80% of council's total electricity is now operating on renewable energy. The City of Boroondara is expected to complete its carbon emissions report for the 2019-2020 financial year in November 2020 to confirm they have met their reduction target.
The 2020-21 council budget outlines a $4.04 million commitment to "a range of environmental initiatives" to minimise council's 'environmental footprint'. This includes $985,000 toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and community engagement to develop a Climate Action Plan which will "define many of the improvements Council will make in climate/environmental strategies".
Local climate activist group Lighter Footprints believes that while council has taken some good steps in the name of sustainability, particularly the renewable purchase agreement, climate action needs to be a top proactive priority. "There is so much more that could be done and that other councils are doing," said Carolyn Ingvarson, convenor at Lighter Footprints. This includes declaring a climate emergency, adapting our urban environment, reducing local car dependency, supporting and breaking down barriers for businesses and residents to transition toward sustainability, and "making carbon reduction the priority in all council activities". Lighter Footprints hopes that community consultation will foster "meaningful discussion" to create a holistic Climate Action Plan that will not only "encompass all of the council's own activities" but also involve "a strategy to enable and inspire residents and businesses to take their own actions".
When the first stage of community consultation is completed, council will commence 'feedback consolidation' from 15 September 2020 until the end of October. Council currently plans to commence phase 2 in November until December, which will involve checking in with community to ensure council has understood their concerns, ideas, and priorities. You can have your say about council's role in climate action in Boroondara by completing the community survey before 14 September 2020 and/or access more information by heading to https://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/waste-environment/sustainability/climate-action-plan