Innovative environmental roadmap for Highlands community unveiled

22 May, 2023Posted in: Environment
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Family by a pond playing with a dog

A greener, more sustainable Shire that residents can feel proud of, and future generations will enjoy, is an important focus of Wingecarribee Shire Council’s draft Operational Plan. Now on exhibition for community members to participate in, this roadmap for our Shire’s future details innovative environmental strategies, from revitalising koala habitats and mitigating bushfire risks, to empowering community volunteer involvement.

Community members will enjoy a range of benefits and positive initiatives as a result of the ambitious environmental and sustainability vision for 2023-2024. Embarking on a new era of community-driven environmental responsibility and sustainability, WSC is thrilled to unveil this series of transformative initiatives designed to enhance our Shire’s sustainable future practices.

The strategies place a thriving Highlands community at the heart of their implementation with a focus on community involvement and fostering a stronger environmental understanding with new community education opportunities.

Environment and Sustainability Manager for WSC, Barry Arthur, is excited to share the latest plans.

“We are thrilled to bring forth initiatives that will directly benefit our community as we work together on a range of exciting projects, to create a sustainable future and improve the wellbeing of our residents,” said Mr Arthur.

A particularly special offering of the new plan is koala habitats that will be created through funded agreements with private landholders. Council is extending a warm invitation to local landholders to participate in the Land for Wildlife and Habitat for Wildlife programs. By joining these initiatives, community members become active custodians of the region’s biodiversity, ensuring the preservation of their land for future generations.

Protecting wildlife on local roads is another important initiative. New driver awareness signs will be strategically placed on key roads to serve as friendly reminders to show down and watch out for native wildlife, preserving the lives of our furry friends and ensuring the integrity of these habitats is maintained.

WSC have outlined their commitment to protecting our beloved natural assets, and securing the safety and well-being of local residents, through active management in mitigating bushfire hazards in Shire reserves.

Recognising that volunteers are the heart and soul of environmental stewardship efforts, WSC will deliver a Bushcare Program that will offer volunteers opportunities for important bush skills development.

The plan also outlines the launch of ‘Sustainable Us’, a community education program that aims to start environmental and climate-based conversations within the community and empower individuals with the knowledge and tools to make sustainable choices in their daily lives.

In the current financial climate, WSC recognises the importance of responsible resource

management. As such, there will be fee adjustments to support essential environmental services. These changes are necessary to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of initiatives like biosecurity weed control and property weed management plan reviews.

Conversely, some fees will remain unchanged, and in some cases will even be cheaper. The Bio-Security Direction Re-Inspection fee is one such fee that has been discounted 3% to $270 for the 23/24 period.

While excited for the unveiled environmental initiatives to begin, WSC appreciates the community’s financial concerns and thanks them for their understanding and ongoing support as we navigate these challenging times together.

Community input for all of the proposed plans is invited and encouraged during the exhibition period to 9 June, 2023.

If you’re excited to be a part of the next steps in a more sustainable future for our community, join Council’s Your Shire e-news and follow us on socials.

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