Minutes of the Sustainable Futures Committee



Meeting Date:     Thursday, 7 June 2018

Location:            Jervis Bay Rooms, City Administrative Centre, Bridge Road, Nowra

Time:                   4:02pm



The following members were present:


Clr Kaye Gartner - Chairperson

Clr Patricia White

Clr John Levett

Clr Mark Kitchener

David Brawn

Robert Hayward

Peter McVay

Larraine Larri


Also present:


Phil Costello – Director, Planning Environment & Development

Stephen Dunshea – Director, Finance Corporate & Community

Paul Keech – Director, Assets & Works

Gordon Clark – Manager, Strategic Planning

Jessica Rippon - Executive Manager, Communications

Kelie Clarke – Manager, Environmental Services

Avalynne Willey - Waste Services

Fiona Schreurs - Resource Recovery Project Coordinator

David Hojem – Manager, Waste Services

Michael Smith - Team Leader, Environmental Planning & Assessment



The Chairperson acknowledged the Aboriginal land on which the meeting was taking place.




Apologies / Leave of Absence


Apologies were received from Oisin Sweeney, Clr Nina Cheyne, Mayor Amanda Findley, and Carmel Krogh, Director Shoalhaven Water.



Confirmation of the Minutes

RESOLVED (Clr White / Robert Hayward)

That the Minutes of the Sustainable Futures Committee held on Tuesday 01 May 2018 be confirmed.



Declarations of Interest


During discussion of item SF18.21 - Solar Garden Formalise Usage of Old North Nowra Waste Depot, it was advised that Bob Hayward, David Brawn and Peter McVay sit on a subcommittee of Repower Shoalhaven - less than significant non pecuniary interest - will remain in the meeting and will vote.





SF18.18     Sue Westaway - Little Eagle - EcoVillage Initiative Red Head Villages Association (RHVA)

HPERM Ref: D18/95515

This item will be postponed until the meeting on 9 August 2018.

Sue Westaway, Little Eagle, has requested to address the Sustainable Futures Committee to address the report previously submitted by Larraine Larri, Thursday 1 February 2018 - SF18.7 - EcoVillage Initiative Red Head Villages Association (RHVA).




SF18.19     Expo 2019

HPERM Ref: D18/173171

Avalynne Wilby, Assets and Works Waste Services, explained that she had noted the Sustainable Futures Committee was considering holding a Sustainable Living festival, similar to that in Melbourne in February. She gave advance notice of the Waste and Environment Expo being planned for 2019, in part to avoid any clashes with events the Sustainable Futures Committee may be organising. She circulated copies of last year’s Expo brochure.

The 2019 event has the theme ‘Reimagining Waste’, and is about repurposing and rethinking waste, rather than recycling, which had been the focus of the 2017 event. The Expo will be held on 5 June, World Environment Day. Planning is starting a year ahead as it is such a large undertaking. Avalynne suggested the Committee may want to think about holding its own event in 2020.

Clr Gartner agreed it could be a good idea to alternate the events. The Sustainable Futures Committee’s first working party meeting will be in August, and Avalynne will be invited to give an update then.

Action: Avalynne Wilby and/or Fiona Schreurs to be invited to 9 August workshop.





It was agreed to bring forward items SF18.22, Progress Report from the Energy Management Coordinator, and SF18.23, Implementation of NatureMapr in the Shoalhaven.



SF18.22     Progress Update from the Energy Management Coordinator - Darren O'Connell

HPERM Ref: D18/171487

Darren O’Connell reported that the Solar Power Purchase Agreements with Rooftop Solar are high on his list of priorities. Shoalhaven will be one of the first councils to pilot Solar PPAs. The shortlist of five potential sites has been narrowed to two – Shoalhaven Regional Gallery and Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre. These two assets are on different energy tariffs. The intention is to test the market to see how much the difference will be. These sites have the most daytime power usage, which results in the least export to grid. The Request for Quotation process is to follow. Council is liaising with Local Government Procurement and the OEH.

Staff were recently offered training in energy efficiency, starting with Shoalwater staff. There are opportunities for them to reduce energy consumption, for example by load shifting. Staff are already using good practice in energy efficiency. Holiday Haven Tourist Parks will be given training next.

Cities Power Partnership: Darren O’Connell is coordinating the South East NSW Buddy Group, which encompasses Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla, Bega, Kiama and Wingecarribee Councils. The group has met by teleconference and will be meeting again in a month. The annual CPP Summit will be held in Kiama in October 2018.

The Sustainability Advantage Programme has continued. Recruitment of the Sustainability Officer is in process. Council has commenced a level strategic review with Sonja Duncan Environmental, who is conducting a desktop assessment of what Council’s sustainability policies, plans and commitments are, and identifying contacts in Council to interview.

Electric Vehicles: A working group has been brought together by Gordon Clark (Manager, Strategic Planning) to develop guidelines on siting.

Future progress updates will be titled ‘Energy Matters’. Darren confirmed his will be in post until the end of 2018.

Bob Hayward asked whether the energy efficiency training is looking at fuel use. Darren clarified it is primarily addressing electricity use.

Regarding Solar PPAs and battery storage, Darren explained that battery storage has been included as alternative option for quotation. The current project is a pilot to see if Solar PPAs prove economic. The Entertainment Centre lends itself to battery storage because of the venue’s after-dark usage.

Clr Levett asked for clarification on EV charging, and how provision will keep up with the anticipated increase in electric vehicles. Will existing service stations adapt? Darren clarified that  most charging is expected to be done at home overnight. Tesla has its own network of charging stations, with one within every 400km. Gordon Clark noted the experience in the EU and UK, where most charging facilities are provided by councils, and not by service stations.

An update was requested on the Berry EV charging station. There had been some negative feedback from members of the community on the original proposed site. The Bowling Club is now being looked at. Gordon Clark has discussed this with Amelia Starr of NRMA; the Bowling Club site is not ideal, as it lies on a flood plain and there is a potential insurance issue. The community had been reassured that Council is still very interested in establishing a charging station in Berry. Gordon is suggesting proposing three or four hypothetical locations to see which the community favour, to test their preferences.

The Committee discussed its residual budget for 2017/18. Kelie Clarke (Manager, Environmental Services) explained that, because the Sustainability Officer has not yet been recruited, the $37k allocated to the resource is unspent, but she is not certain that it is available. This would need to be checked with Finance. Stephen Dunshea (Director, Finance Corporate & Community) clarified that all such requests are to be rolled over to next year’s budget – any balances will be noted but Council has to decide if it can guarantee the funds. It is also necessary to check with Carmel Krogh whether there will be an additional $50k for next year.

Kelie suggested that, if the $37k for this financial year is confirmed as available, the Committee can discuss what would be appropriate to spend it on. Stephen added that if the Committee wants to decide how to spend the funds as a commitment, that will be noted as part of the report to Council as to what funds should be brought forward. This would help put a strong argument, although the allocation cannot be guaranteed.

Possible projects for expenditure include NatureMapr implementation, although this requires $20k plus $10k per annum; and the Tree Study could be extended.

A second recommendation for Darren O’Connell to address green revolving funds in the update, discussed under item SF18.23 below, was added.

Recommendation (Item to be determined under delegated authority)

That the update be received for information.


RESOLVED (Clr Gartner / Peter McVay)


1.      The update be received for information.

2.      Darren O’Connell add information on green revolving funds to the project update, to bring to the next meeting of the Sustainable Futures Committee.





SF18.23     Implementation of NatureMapr in the Shoalhaven

HPERM Ref: D18/164117

Bob Hayward referred to the impressive community engagement shown in the presentations at the last meeting. NatureMapr is up and running, and a number of Council staff have been investigating, moderators are being trained, and so on. It will be a useful tool for Council in terms of planning issues, biosecurity, and weed management. He noted the Committee had resolved to seek part funding for its implementation with Tourism. He considers however the funding should come from the Sustainable Futures Committee and not be contingent on a contribution from Tourism. Council should make a contribution, given that it stands to benefit from the project, and he asked where the money can be found.

Peter McVay agreed implementation will give Council the opportunity to be more strategic in weed management, leading to potential savings. It will also be a demonstration of Council and the community working together. Bob Hayward added it would be an education tool for local schools.

Clr Gartner raised the recent meeting with Stephen Dunshea which had addressed the Committee budget, discussing ringfencing for environmental projects and green revolving funds. Stephen confirmed this potentially can be achieved, but clarified whether and how savings would be channelled back into green projects is a decision of Council. The Committee could put a request to Council. Darren O’Connell added that capital is also necessary to achieve savings in a revolving fund.

Larraine Larri agreed that the NatureMapr implementation should rest with the Sustainable Futures Committee and not go to Tourism. Tourism is a secondary educative process.

Clr Gartner recommended that all Committee members write to Russ Pigg, General Manager, to request funding for the implementation of NatureMapr.

Recommendation (Item to be determined under delegated authority)

That the Sustainable Futures Committee, independent of any undertaking from the Shoalhaven Tourism Advisory Group, consider the funding required - $20,000 initial set up and $10,000 annual maintenance – from future Sustainable Futures budgets to ensure the full implementation of the NatureMapr scheme in the Shoalhaven.

RESOLVED (Robert Hayward / Larraine Larri)

That any funds remaining unallocated in the 2017/18 Sustainable Futures Budget along with any additional funds required from the 2018/19 budget (to a maximum of $20,000) be allocated for implementation of the NatureMapr scheme in the Shoalhaven.



SF18.20     Outstanding Action Table - Update

HPERM Ref: D18/180254


General Manager’s Group: Jessica Rippon (Executive Manager, Communications) agreed to circulate the communications material about sustainable futures to the Committee before its release.

She described the Get Involved platform on the website, and offered to set up a section for this Committee. This could host all the Committee’s videos and presentations to date. Filming of presentations is also possible, as are live feeds and Facebook posts with short videos.

Assets & Works: Michael Smith (Environmental Planning & Assessment) reported the Electric Vehicles working group is preparing the draft policy, where charging stations should be located, etc. Ride Sharing – also progressing.

Corporate & Community: Deferred to give time for the new Director, Stephen Dunshea, to familiarise himself with the initiatives.

Planning, Environment & Development: Energy efficiency had been addressed earlier.

Kelie Clarke advised that Council’s Building Design Awards may be reintroduced for sustainable architecture. Colin Wood and Kelie are looking at revamping the awards, possibly in March next year. This will help to generate interest in the area.

The Committee expressed its appreciation of the ongoing passive solar work.

Action: Jessica Rippon to circulate communications materials to Sustainable Futures Committee members for feedback.

Recommendation (Item to be determined under delegated authority)

That the Outstanding Action Table be received for information.


RESOLVED (Robert Hayward / Peter McVay)

That the Outstanding Action Table be received for information.





SF18.21     Solar Garden Formalise Usage of Old North Nowra Waste Depot

HPERM Ref: D18/180646

Bob Hayward advised that he, David Brawn and Peter McVay sit on a subcommittee of Repower Shoalhaven relating to this scheme. This is a less than significant non pecuniary interest, and they will remain in the meeting and will vote.

Paul Keech (Director, Assets & Works ) confirmed staff are recommending that Council make this the preferred site. Clr White noted that the last time this site was brought to Council for a project, the EPA had said that because it was a waste facility there will have been leakage that Council needs to do more work on. She asked whether this had been done. Paul Keech believes it has been done to the EPA’s satisfaction, but they have not yet released the site. There is no more that Council can do to remediate the site, only monitor it. In time he expects the controls will be relaxed and Council can use the site for other purposes. This is a complicating factor. The site does meet a lot of the criteria otherwise. If Council does not agree with it as the preferred site staff need to know soon so they can seek others. He suggested it takes two to three years for methane to dissipate, but that this is not certain.

Peter McVay explained that Newcastle are engaged in a similar project, and will be able to feed back their experiences.

Repower are overall looking for $4.5M investment on a not for profit basis, and all savings and power will remain in the community. Its primary objective is to supply power to those unable to install their own solar – tenants including commercial, social housing, and strata for example.


That Council advise Repower Shoalhaven (as a fellow partner of the Social Access Solar Garden Scheme) that Council supports the location of a Solar Access Farm on the Old Tip Site at North Nowra (Crown Land) and will work with Repower Shoalhaven to gain necessary approvals to use the site for this purpose as the preferred use for this site.


RECOMMENDATION (Robert Hayward / David Brawn)

That Council advise Repower Shoalhaven (as a fellow partner of the Social Access Solar Garden Scheme) that Council supports the location of a Solar Access Farm on the Old Tip Site at North Nowra (Crown Land) and will work with Repower Shoalhaven to gain necessary approvals to use the site for this purpose as the preferred use for this site.





General Business


Managing Environmental Change Through Planning for Transformative Pathways Workshop

The first of this series of workshops had taken place the previous Friday, 1 June 2018. The separate community day had been attended by members from the Bay & Basin Forum and Sussex Inlet. It is anticipated that some of the community members who participated on Friday will attend the community workshops instead as they are scheduled on a non-working day, so future Council-based workshops may be smaller.

The draft statement that had started to emerged is very visionary, and different from previous strategies.

It was noted that the format of the workshop may not work for all participants. There had nonetheless been a good level of contributions.



Clr Gartner thanked all for attending the meeting, and reminded the members to write a letter about the Committee budget.


There being no further business, the meeting concluded, the time being 5.16pm.



Clr Kaye Gartner