Council’s climate change policy approved

Developed in line with Federal Government guidelines, the strategy integrates climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies with more than 40 projects over the five-year plan.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said responding effectively to climate change involved both reducing greenhouse gas emissions to lessen the scale of climate change (mitigation) and being ready to adapt to climate change impacts as they occurred (adaptation). The strategy covers six areas ” infrastructure and assets, parks and reserves, land use, planning and development, natural environment, corporate responsibility and good governance, and community wellbeing.

At the meeting, Mr Pickard moved an amendment to the strategy to increase the number of trees planted in City open spaces, parks, verges and medians.

The amendment stated the City would plant a minimum of 500 trees in 2014-15 then increase this by 100 trees per year from 2015-16 to 2018-19.

‘Five hundred trees is the status quo for our tree planting program and I think there is scope for our City to be more aspirational in this regard,’ he said.

Cr Mike Norman said increasing the amount of trees planted would add amenity to the City’s parks, verges and median strips.

He also said while the City needed a climate change strategy, he had ‘reservations that make this a somewhat difficult decision’.

‘The document does include projects covering both mitigation and adaption and that is good but I see that nearly all the mitigation projects are existing projects,’ he said. ‘I do not see any specifically funded mitigation projects that will result in what I believe will be a further significant decrease in the City’s greenhouse gas emissions.

‘It does say there will be increased mitigation only as opportunities and funding arise, which I think is unlikely given that Federal and State Government grants for greenhouse projects have all but dried up.’

He said the tree planting amendment was a ‘step in the right direction.’

Cr John Chester also had reservations. ‘Since the climate change strategy was first presented to the elected body I made it quite clear that I felt that the project deliverables needed to be strengthened to make the document more effective and certainly more aspirational,’ he said.

‘However, in spite of my misgivings on that particular aspect, the document taken as a whole is a well-considered and substantial document that should allow the City to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and it does allow the city to move itself forward in adapting to any possible climate change effects which we will encounter in the future.’