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Changes that will steer Sunshine Coast’s environment, liveability

Strengthening our response to climate change, an increased focus on our waste management and resource recovery, and recognition of our dark skies are among new inclusions for the Sunshine Coast’s blueprint setting the future for our environment and liveability.

A resident enjoying time in the garden with a basket of harvested home produce.
Our natural and built environments and our quality of life are closely connected.

Strengthening our response to climate change, an increased focus on our waste management and resource recovery, and recognition of our dark skies are among new inclusions for the Sunshine Coast’s blueprint setting the future for our environment and liveability.

The refreshed Environment and Liveability Strategy was adopted in today’s Sunshine Coast Council Ordinary Meeting (October 26) and sits alongside the Community Strategy and Economic Development Strategy.

Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said the Environment and Liveability Strategy focused on guiding growth and delivering the transformational change required to maintain a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast in 2041.

The Environment and Liveability Strategy sets targets on increasing diversity of affordable living options, providing community facilities and empowering residents to live sustainably.

“Since Council first endorsed this award-winning strategy in 2017 our region has continued to change, along with the available information and approaches we have to manage our environment and liveability,” Cr Suarez said.

“This refreshed Strategy incorporates new information, and strengthens the strategic foundation already established.

“We need these strategic directions for our region to be relevant with an approach that keeps with the times, reflecting our community’s needs and values.”

Key changes made as part of the project include:

  • Recognition of the Sunshine Coast's UNESCO Biosphere status
  • Incorporation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Recognition of the state of climate emergency and strengthen climate change wording
  • Recognition of dark skies and associated planning
  • Strengthening our waste strategic directions
  • Revised tasks to reflect the priorities necessary to deliver on each Transformational Action across the next five years and to be considered in annual operational planning.

Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox said Council consulted with community groups across the region, as well as the wider community through the Have Your Say website to refresh the Strategy’s strategic directions and implementation plan.

“We received more than 400 contributions from the community through workshops, surveys, online webinars and formal submissions during this two-stage consultation process between May and August,” Cr Cox said.

“Thank you to everyone who engaged and told us what they viewed as the emerging issues or opportunities for the region, as well as priority actions for Council, or gave their feedback on the draft changes.”

Cr Cox said the community reaffirmed key values previously heard including retaining the distinct character, protecting natural assets, finding the balance, being sustainable and ongoing community involvement.

“What we also heard is that as we continue to plan for our increasing population, it is important that we ensure the quality of our way of life remains a priority.

“This means it’s important to retain focus on responding to climate change, providing access to affordable living options, ensuring communities are well serviced by appropriate infrastructure such as public and active transport networks, and greening our neighbourhoods.

“Monitoring and tracking the Strategy’s implementation progress and effectiveness is critical, and was something the community also underlined during this engagement.”

A refresh of the Strategy’s Part C: Network Plan has been proposed with completion scheduled for late 2024.

Strategy highlights since 2017:

 
 

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Sunshine Coast Council acknowledges the Sunshine Coast Country, home of the Kabi Kabi peoples and the Jinibara peoples, the Traditional Custodians, whose lands and waters we all now share. We wish to pay respect to their Elders – past, present and emerging, and acknowledge the important role First Nations people continue to play within the Sunshine Coast community.

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