Greening our City Grant Funding Opens!

The 2020 Greening our City grant program is now open!

This grant supports local councils and their partners to enhance urban tree canopy and green cover across Greater Sydney. Up to 12.5 million is available to fund new grants under two streams for tree planting projects and demonstration projects.

An information session is also being held on 22 July 2020 to provide details on eligibility and assessment criteria as well as provide guidance on how to use the online spatial tool. Click here to register.

See the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment page for further guidelines and supporting materials.

Please note that grant applications close on the 19 August 2020.

Postponement of 29th NSW Coastal Conference

At the start of this month, the NSW Coastal Conference Organising Committee announced that this year’s conference would be postponed to 2021. However, the Committee is looking into an alternative option involving an online practitioner forum later this year with more details to come.

In the mean time, make sure to save the date of the NSW Coastal Conference in 2021!

3rd – 5th November 20201, Mantra on Salt Beach, Kingscliff. Co hosted by Byron Shire Council & Tweed Shire Council

Get the Site Right

June Campaign

The Get the Site Right campaign in June was aimed at increasing awareness of the dangers of runoff from building sites impacting the environment and encourage developers, builders and home renovators to implement appropriate erosion and sediment controls.

The campaign kicked off in response to an increase in home renovation and DIY projects during the COVID-19 isolation period as well as several large construction projects that are expected to commence in coming months.

Developments of all sizes were monitored by councils and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as part of the month-long campaign. Although the June campaign is now over, councils and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will continue to undertake inspections and target offending sites that fail to control their sediment runoff, to ensure developers and builders #getthesiteright!


About the Program

Now in its fifth year, Get the Site Right is a joint program between the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG), Cooks River Alliance, Georges Riverkeeper, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Lake Macquarie Council, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and local councils

Sediment spills affect our environment and waterways by:

  • Destroying aquatic habitats and smothering native plants and animals that live in our waterways.
  • Directly polluting creeks, rivers and harbours by filling them with dirt, soil, sand and mud. This leads to poorer water quality, affecting swimming or leisure activities in and around our waterways.
  • Blocking stormwater drains leading to flooding and overflows.
  • Eroding creek and riverbanks.

Members of the public can report pollution incidents, including poor sediment control, to the EPA’s 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555 or to their local council.

Learn more about the Get the Site Right campaign 

Read the recent media release

Renewed Management for Aquatic Reserves

Existing rules at Sydney’s aquatic reserves will continue as announced in the Aquatic Reserve Notification published in the Government Gazette of 17 April 2020. No changes have been made to the boundaries or rules of these aquatic reserves. The Aquatic Reserve Notification can be found here.

New IPART Report

On 16 June, IPART released its Final Report on prices for Sydney Water services.

As was indicative in the draft IPART report and supported in the SCCG submission, $80M has been approved for Sydney Water in discretionary funding that comprises $62.7 for the wastewater treatment program at Diamond Bay and $22.4 for the Waterway Health Improvement Program (WHIP). The WHIP will deliver improved waterway health through stormwater management activities that will increase: the length of waterways in good health; areas of planted native vegetation; sets of recreation facilities; and the amount of rubbish and litter removed from Sydney waterways each year.

The final report on Sydney Water’s prices are available here.

Long Reef Turns 40!

The State’s first aquatic reserve is celebrating its 40th anniversary, as a pivotal resource for marine education for all!

NSW Department of Primary Industries Program Leader Marine Planning Rodney James said the Long Reef Aquatic Reserve, in Sydney’s northern beaches was declared in 1980, to protect rocky shore plants and animals (invertebrates and cunjevoi), after marine life became seriously depleted due to intensive collection for food and bait.

The area was protected for educational and scientific purposes, frequented by thousands of school children, university students and the public visiting the aquatic reserve each year to learn about intertidal animals and plants. It has also been a scientific research site for universities and the Australian Museum for over 70 years.

For more information on Long Reef Aquatic Reserve’s 40th birthday, or to see what you can do to get involved, visit Long Reef Aquatic Reserve celebrating 40 years.

New NSW Coastal Council

On 8 May 2020, Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock issued a media release to announce the appointment of the new NSW Coastal Council.

Ms Annelise Tuor has been appointed as the Chair, with out-going Chair Bruce Thom continuing on as a member of the Council.

Of the 7 positions held by the Council, 4 are newly appointed Council members. The new Coastal Council includes:

  • Ms Annelise Tuor
  • Dr Kate Brooks
  • Ms Pam Dean-Jones
  • Emeritus Professor Bruce Thom
  • Mr Martijn Gough
  • Dr Hannah Power
  • Dr Shay Simpson

The significant contributions of outgoing Council members was acknowledged by Minister Hancock.

The SCCG wishes to congratulate new members and looks forward to continuing it’s close collaboration with these appointees.

Recently Released Inner West Guidelines: Green Walls, Roofs and Facades

SCCG Member Council, Inner West, is proud to announce the release of their Green Roofs, Walls and Facades Technical Guidelines!

The Guidelines provide technical advice to support the installation of green roofs, walls and facades in the Inner West. They aim to increase the uptake of vertical greening in the LGA to improve liveability and resilience. The Guidelines also contain information and tools including checklists and design specification guidance to help those interested to understand, plan, design and construct green roofs, walls and facades.

SCCG are delighted to see its release, which will hopefully promote greater uptake of environmentally beneficial designs.

The Guidelines are now publicly available on Councils website. Well done to Inner West for all their hard work and success.

Operation Turbo Reef: Crackdown on Illegal Fishing

Operation Turbo Reef has so far seized 6,251 marine invertebrates and issued $63,000 in fines over the Australia Day long weekend. This initiative of NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Compliance Unit is designed to target illegal shellfish collection in the Sydney metropolitan region. This year, the operation tasked a new mobile squad to specifically target compliance in Intertidal Protected Areas (IPAs) and Aquatic Reserves due to their high community value for biodiversity and as sites for education and research.

Fortunately, of the 6,251 invertebrates collected, including cockles, abalone, turban snails, lobster and octopus, the vast majority were returned to the water alive. It’s urged that the public remain vigilant and report any illegal activity to ensure our coastal ecosystems can continue to flourish.

 

Anyone with information on illegal activity is encouraged to call the Fishers Watch line on 1800 043 536 or lodge a report here.

COVID-19 and Ocean Pools

 

Updated advice has been received from NSW Health regarding ocean pools.

From 15 May, swimming in outdoor pools is permitted where there are no more than 10 people allowed in the pool. Users must maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres.

Please refer to the NSW Health and NSW Government’s COVID-19 website for updates here.

 

 

“The public health order issued 30 March 2020 requires the closure of indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, including tennis courts, ocean pools“.

 

On Wednesday 25 March, SCCG provided the following advice to its member councils, after consulting with NSW Health on the safe use of ocean pools and baths.

NSW Health stated that at this stage, the risk of contracting COVID-19 through swimming in ocean pools/baths is considered low as the COVID-19 virus is unlikely to survive for long periods in salt water.

However, people using ocean baths are advised to

  • stay at home if sick
  • stay at home if you have been asked by health authorities to self-isolate
  • do not swim if you have had diarrhoea
  • shower with soap before swimming
  • minimise time spent out of the pool
  • comply with social distancing (try to keep 1.5 metres from other people as much as possible)
  • comply with protective measures when in the change rooms and outside the pool (clean your hands, cover coughs and sneezes)
  • follow the usual health advice to avoiding swimming for least 1 day after rain
  • try to attend when the pool is less busy

Councils were also advised that baths should regularly be cleaned.

In this unprecedented time, SCCG is seeking to achieve a regional approach to minimise the potential health risk associated with coastal and estuarine environments.

SCCG would like to thank NSW Health for their ongoing assistance to help protect our members councils and their broader community.

Please note, this advice is current as of Wednesday 25 March. Any further advice on public gathering and social distancing may change in the future.