New Environmental Vision for Sydney
Major environmental professional, community and university groups have banded together to produce an environmental vision as part of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) planning process.
The ‘Environmental Panel’ was co-convened by Total Environment Centre and Rod Simpson, GSC Environment Commissioner. Its members included the Green Building Council, 100 Resilient Cities, Landscape Architects Institute, National Trust and Institute for Sustainable Futures. The 85 page report addresses 15 key environmental features from waterways to climate change to energy efficiency and local character and calls for:
A city that values its unique environmental landscape and biodiversity; and which all citizens can enjoy and protect
A healthy city with clean air and water and sufficient green open space and tree cover providing widespread opportunities for relaxation and exercise
A resource efficient city where the environmental impacts of water and energy supply and disposal of solid, liquid and gaseous waste are minimised
A resilient city, able to cope with extreme events
A city that knows and values its history
“We appreciate the support of and engagement of the GSC in our work – it fits well with the government’s requirement for more substantial community engagement by the GSC. It is a constructive relationship and we look forward to making further contributions to delivering an environmentally sustainable city. We have examined the state of each environmental feature; the barriers to better planning and environment protection and proposed a number of essential benchmarks by which to judge future decisions,” said Jeff Angel, Executive Director of Total Environment Centre and co-convenor.
“Crucially we identified that protecting the environment also delivers substantial health and economic benefits.”
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) said:
“We have been pleased to support the work of the Environment Panel advising the Greater Sydney Commission in the development of the recently released district plans. The Environment Panel's Advisory Paper is an important contribution to the work of the Commission as it supports more productive, liveable, sustainable healthy and resilient communities across Sydney.”
The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) said:
“We wish to encourage the GSC to ensure that Green Infrastructure is given equal standing as other categories of infrastructure throughout the city. AILA notes the strong evidence that open space facilities are critical to the health and well-being of residents living in the increasingly dense urban environment of Sydney. We urge the GSC to ensure that quantity, quality and connectivity of open space throughout Sydney meets the needs of all communities.”
National Trust CEO Brian Scarsbrick welcomed the opportunity for the Trust to contribute to the development of the Environment Panel Advisory Paper of the Greater Sydney Commission. “This provides a real mechanism to ensure that District Plans actively seek to identify, recognize and protect heritage items and Heritage Conservation Areas from demolition and inappropriate development,”
202020 Vision, a coalition of hundreds of greening professionals said:
“The release of the Environment Panel Advisory Paper to determine tangible ways we can collaborate with the Greater Sydney Commission to ensure existing tree canopy is retained and that increasing the quantity and quality of green space across all six districts in Sydney is prioritised. Productivity, density and trees are not mutually exclusive. After all, we know that the best cities to live in the world are places with trees, plants and open spaces, and that this amenity is a right, not a privilege. But ambition is not enough - a plan of action and means continuing to coordinate with local government and the Resilient Cities program, industry and research institutes to determine practical means by which to map green space, understand what targets are required in which locations to provide the significant health, environmental and energy efficiency targets. And then achieve them.”
Professor Deo Prasad AO, of the CRC for Low Carbon Living said:
“The Environmental Panel Advisory Paper has truly been a collaborative effort and has brought together well founded ideas to help underpin the District Plans and ensure that environmental issues are embedded into decision making.”
The Sydney PeriUrban Network of Councils (SPUN) said:
“We are proud to have contributed as a member of the Environment Panel. SPUN is pleased to endorse this paper as it is a good platform to share knowledge, good practice and value the peri urban areas. SPUN looks forward to continue working with the Greater Sydney Commission and other organisations that have contributed to the Advisory Paper, in the sustainable growth and protection of the important environmental, ecological and agricultural assets in the Sydney Basin.”
The Sydney Institute of Marine Science said: "Our coastal environments, estuaries and other waterways are a fundamental part of Sydney’s character, and among its most iconic features. The integration of our urban coasts and waterways into overall planning for the future of Sydney is critical. We are thus pleased to see Sydney’s “blue”scape featuring strongly in the Paper. SIMS looks forward to continuing to work with the Commission and the Government as we progress planning for our future city."