Triple honours for Blue Mountains City Council in environment awards

Western Sydney council award winners at the LGNSW Excellence in the Environment Awards, 2016. Photo by Eventpix.
Western Sydney council award winners at the LGNSW Excellence in the Environment Awards, 2016. Photo by Eventpix.

Blue Mountains City Council has come away with three awards from the 2016 NSW Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards.

In the climate change action category Blue Mountains City Council was joint winners with several other western Sydney councils and WSROC for the Light Years Ahead project. It is one of the largest ever energy reduction projects in western Sydney, replacing 14,491 high emission 80 Watt mercury vapour streetlights with energy efficient LED lighting.

There were a total of 662 new LED lights installed in the Blue Mountains, replacing old lights in Faulconbridge, Katoomba, Leura, Linden, Springwood, Valley Heights, Winmalee and Yellow Rock.

“This project has achieved a 77 per cent saving in electricity costs and it is estimated that over the 20 year life of the lights,” said Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill. “The nine councils will save $19.4 million, and the estimated reduction in carbon emissions over 20 years is 91,000 tonnes.”

Council was also a part of the winning group in the natural environment policies, planning and decision making for the Sydney Peri Urban Network of councils for Sydney Food Futures Project.

This project modelled and mapped the impact of future urban growth scenarios on Sydney's food production to show spatial impacts of urban growth. The research suggested that unless changes are made, Sydney stands to lose 60 per cent of fresh food produce in the Sydney basin. While Sydney has plans for housing, energy and water, Sydney does not have a plan for protecting food production.

And finally, council also received a highly commended for its Leura Falls catchment improvement project. In partnership with Water NSW it constructed stormwater quality treatment systems at key locations within the Leura Falls catchment to protect Sydney's drinking water supply.

These systems incorporate primary, secondary and tertiary treatments, including gross pollutant traps, stilling ponds, rain-gardens, wetland cells, rock-lined channels and soft-engineered creek-line stabilisation measures. Combined, the treatments will improve water quality and enhance ecosystem services.

The Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards were initiated in 1998 and are held annually. The awards are open to all local government organisations in NSW.