A plan for sustainability

May 18, 2022 BY

Geelong Deputy Mayor and Councillor Trent Sullivan.

Financial, environmental and social sustainability are at the core of decision-making for councillors and City of Greater Geelong staff.

You may have heard the council talking about this three-pronged approach, which was adopted in 2020 as part of our Sustainability Framework.

And our action plan aims to make the framework a reality through key short, medium and long-term initiatives.

You might be searching for real life examples of what this all actually means.

Our $61.6 million Northern Aquatic and Community Hub in Norlane is one that easily comes to my mind.

Construction is underway on the hub, which will feature state-of-the-art facilities such as 1,000 square metres of multi-purpose community space, a 25-metre pool, a hydrotherapy pool, a waterslide, gym, occasional care and a cafe.

We predict the centre will deliver

$111 million in preventative health benefits for the region during the first 10 years of operation.

This transformative project ticks the social sustainability box as it will support and empower community members in their health and wellbeing journeys, fostering a more resilient and inclusive society.

I’m pleased to announce that as part of our Proposed Budget for 2022-23, we want to chip in $4 million to convert the site from gas to electricity.

The existing aquatic facilities in Waterworld are run on gas and by powering the new site with renewable energy, we will cut emissions by about 1,700 tonnes per year.

To get an idea of just how significant that is, it’s equivalent to the annual energy use of more than 300 households in Victoria.

On top of that, the conversion will assist with the new facility achieving a 5 Star (Australian Excellence) Green Star rating.

Last November, we adopted the Climate Change Response Plan 2021-2030, which was a key action in the Sustainability Framework and Environment Strategy.

Under the Climate Change Response Plan, we have committed to transitioning away from gas in order to help meet its ultimate zero emissions target.

As part of this zero-carbon plan, last year we partnered with 45 other Victorian municipalities to join the largest-ever emissions reduction project by local government in the country.

The Victorian Energy Collaboration provides the councils with 100 per cent renewable energy until the end of 2030.

By walking the talk, the council sends a strong and encouraging message to other organisations and the broader community that climate change action is a priority and we can all take steps to make change.

In terms of financial sustainability, switching the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub from gas to wind power will actually cut the organisation’s power bills by an estimated $150,000 per year.

The works will create jobs, therefore strengthening our local economy as it recovers from the pandemic.

There are so many other projects worth highlighting in our 2022-23 Proposed Budget that contribute to a more sustainable Greater Geelong.

This includes a proposed $3.5 million allocation to continue switching our street lights to more environmentally efficient LED globes.

We have tried to balance key investments such as this, as part of a $206.6m capital works program, while delivering a sustainable financial position.

After more than two years of running annual deficits, in order to target business and the broader community with a range of COVID-19 recovery initiatives, the Proposed Budget is back in the black.

I encourage you to delve into the Draft Budget and find out what projects are happening in your area by visiting the Your Say page: yoursay.geelongaustralia.com.au/CAFP.

We are seeking feedback – in fact, submissions are encouraged!

The city will receive feedback until Tuesday, May 24.

Cr Trent Sullivan
Deputy Mayor, City of Greater Geelong