A combined Townsville Council, State Government, Commonwealth and
community based initiative to maintain and enhance our waterways in the
coastal dry tropics.

Increasing Community Engagement in Townsville Coastal Catchments for Biodiversity Project
Funded by the Australian Government's Caring for our Country program.

2011 Sub Projects

Activities and Events

Bluewater Creek | Bohle Northshore | Bohle Riparian | Bohle Wetland | Clemant Wetlands | Cocoa Creek | Community Nurseries | Creekwatch | Cungulla Foreshore | Cungulla Wetland | GBR Habitat | Geoffrey and Alma Bay | Horseshoe Bay Habitat | Horseshoe Bay School | M.I. Weed Awareness | Mundy Creek | Nelly Bay Catchment | Nelly Bay Turtle | Northern Beaches | Oak Valley Finch | Paluma Catchment | Petersen Creek | Rainforest Birds Book | Ross River | Rowes Bay Foreshore | Rowes Bay Wetlands | Saunders Beach | Toomulla Foreshore | Town Common Bike TrailTown Common Concept | Town Common Volunteers | Townsville Planning Scheme

Short Title: Planning Scheme - Environmental Infrastructure

Title: Habitat in Environmental Infrastructure for the new Townsville Planning Scheme

Location: Townsville LGA

Organisation: Creek to Coral

Project Summary:

The objective is to reduce the complexity associated with the environmental components of the planning scheme by producing an integrated environmental infrastructure layer containing all the components required to protect our natural resources in an ecologically sustainable development framework (the Sustainable Planning Act). The integrated environmental infrastructure layer being developed for the Townsville planning scheme is in line with the intent expressed by the Townsville community in the Community Plan and in compliance with the Sustainable Planning Act.

 Ecologically based planning solutions have a definite structure however the structure is fundamentally different to the standard engineering/planning approach. The underlying principle of ecological planning is the maintenance of our quality of life through the protection of our life support system.

 This can best be done in a planning context through the recognition and protection of significant environmental infrastructure. That includes our natural drainage systems and ‘waste’ disposal (organic recycling) and filter systems that help protect or enhance our natural resources. Environmental infrastructure includes:

 ·       Drainage systems (water drainage, water storage, seed transport, nutrient relocation, soil formation, sediment redistribution, habitat, connectivity, aquifer recharge, recreation, food source, biodiversity);

·       Wetlands (water filtering, water storage and aquifer recharge, habitat, seasonally high productivity, food source, biodiversity);

·       Riparian vegetation (shading, nutrients, ground cover; bank stabilisation, erosion prevention, water filtering, shelter/refuge, habitat, connectivity, recreation, food source, buffering, biodiversity);

·       Coastal dune systems (first line storm protection, buffering, water filtering, recreation, habitat, biodiversity);

·       Extensive forest in mid and upper catchments slopes >15% (erosion prevention, soil and slope stabilisation, soil formation, habitat, recreation, food source, aquifer recharge/intake, biodiversity);

·       Corridors and connections (wildlife movement, seed and vegetation dispersal, habitat, shade, shelter/refuge, food source, buffering, recreation, biodiversity);

·       Habitat/sustainable living space (biodiversity, connectivity, buffering, food source, recreation);

·       Native vegetation (biodiversity, habitat, wildlife movement, buffering, seed and vegetation dispersal food source, recreation, soil health, shade, shelter/refuge, fuel, timber, erosion prevention.

 (Note: habitat is “the native environment or kind of place where a given plant or animal lives or grows” (Macquarie Dictionary) and includes the biological and physical components e.g. soil, rocks, vegetation and water sources, that comprise that living space and are required for feeding, shelter and reproduction/breeding.) (Gunn 2012, p.32)

TheSustainable Planning Act (the Act) provides for the preparation of a local government area planning scheme along the lines described in the Act. The Act is not based on ecological planning principles and therefore puts European-style socio-economic matters ahead of the environment as our base of existence/life. Surely the environment is the base of our existence and all the socio-economic activity is based on extracting materials and latent/potential energy from the environment.

 While an attempt has been made with the Act to place a greater emphasis on environmental infrastructure and ecological sustainability the previous culture still remains enshrined in the commercial and public sectors and transformative incentives are required to shift behaviours in the short term. In the medium to long term it will require foresighted governance and some effective behaviour change programs to continue the move towards a ‘planning and doing’ culture that is managing our interactions with the environment in a non-degrading way. Where we do intervene in the environment the result needs to be a transformation that does not detract from the overall natural resource values of the intervention area or surrounding catchments.

 The Act defines as one of the main environmental features to protect and manage, biodiversity. Basically biodiversity is ‘all the different living things’.

 Question: How do you prioritise all the different living things for a land use based planning scheme?

Answer: You don’t. You prioritise the habitat where all the different things live.

Completed actions and events:

    •    Initial discussions with Strategic Planning about environmental input from CfoC project - 21 July 2011

    October 2011/January 2012
    •    Planning studies and reports review

    •    Selected map layers from the review and GIS data obtained from TCC

    •    Prepare Background Report framework

    •    Commence environmental mapping with Aurecon

    •    Planning scheme workshop on Magnetic Island for local area planning - 3 December 2011

    •    ISS managers meeting for environmental input to planning scheme – 17 January 2012

    •    Draft Environment and Conservation Zone

    •    Consolidate map layers and prepare draft environmental importance layer (to planning scheme consultants (Buckley Vann) - 17 January

    •    Phone meeting follow up - 20 January

    February/March 2012
    •    Review first draft Biodiversity Code - 13 February

    •    Continue to develop the rating system to v3 of the Environmental layer

    •    Cross reference v3 results with Chenoweth mapping

    •    Revise ratings and add Chenoweth components to create version 4 of the Environmental layer

    •    Final rating revisions and addition of elements to create the Integrated Environmental Infrastructure layer (v5)

    •    Finer scale review of urban areas to identify locally significant environmental areas

    •    Draft report to Buckley Vann - 28 March

    •    ISS planning workshop with TCC planning department - 16 April 2012

    •    Presentation at Eco-city Action Plan workshop on planning scheme environmental infrastructure - 19 April 2012

    •    JCU Discovery Rise meeting for planning scheme input - 9 May 2012

    •    Review Strategic Framework and provide comments - 20 June 2012

    •    Environmental infrastructure justification report summary - June

    •    Strategic Biomap draft - 26 June 2012

    •    Peer review workshop and identify important areas in the urban footprint - 27 June 2012

    •    Review draft Environmental Infrastructure/Biodiversity Code - 17 July 2012

    •    Meeting with TCC Strategic Planning to extend environmental input from CfoC project - 31 July 2012

    •    Environmental mapping workshop with DEHP/DNRM etc - 2 August 2012

    •    Meeting with TCC about strategic mapping inputs and products - 23 August 2012

    •    Meeting with Buckley Vann to discuss finalisation of planning scheme environmental inputs - 18 September 2012

    •    Meeting with GBRMPA about planning scheme inputs - 27 September 2012

    •    Finalise urban footprint environmental importance sites/map – September/October 2012

    •    Strategic level environmental importance mapping –October 2012

    •    Integrate DEHP mapping into environmental importance map – October 2012

    •    Meeting with Paul Johnston about finalising mapping and policy - 30 October 2012

    •    Finalise Strategic Biomap - October 2012

    •    Site assessment to identify threats to main EEC – October/November 2012

    •    Prepare draft Natural Assets Policy – November 2012

    •    Finalise v6 environmental importance and integrate urban components – November 2012

    •    Drop off ‘final’ mapping products to TCC - 19 November 2012

    •    Review all environmental components and draft planning scheme - November 2012

    •    HEV waters advise and input for planning scheme – November/December 2012

    •    Provide input to the planning scheme for Magnetic Island – January/December 2012

    •    Review mapping, code and policy – January/March 2013

    •    Final amendments to the environmental importance ratings map to include coastal HES requested by DNRM – July 2013