City of Launceston agrees to investigate how to become an ecocity

HEALTHY CITY: Alderman Emma Williams, who is also running as a Greens candidate in the upcoming state election. Picture: Paul Scambler
HEALTHY CITY: Alderman Emma Williams, who is also running as a Greens candidate in the upcoming state election. Picture: Paul Scambler

Launceston is one step closer to becoming a more sustainable city.

The council has unanimously agreed to task general manager Michael Stretton with the creation of a policy paper to identify a pathway for Launceston to become an ecocity.

Professor Brendan Gleeson from the University of Melbourne says ecocities can be defined in four parts, ecology, economics, politics and culture.

To qualify a city should have a deep and integrated relationship with nature, be based on an economy organised around social needs, have an enhanced emphasis on engaged and negotiated civic involvement, and actively develop ongoing processes for dealing with the intersections of identity and difference.

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While Australian cities are judged to be highly ‘liveable’ by world standards, ecological sustainability includes attention to carbon emissions, climate preparedness and social justice.

Alderman Emma Williams led the push in Launceston, putting forward a notice of motion at Monday’s council meeting.

She said the creation of an ecocity policy paper for future consideration would complement the work already being undertaken by council officers. 

“As an organisation and a council we have a number of pillars which support our strategic direction and it is important that we are able to identify, amongst those pillars, where we can strengthen and reinforce them and move forward,” she said.

“There is already some great work being undertaken, such as the installation of LED street lights, solar panels and FOGO, but we have the scope to do much more.”

While the goal is ambitious it is “extremely feasible” with wide-reaching benefits, Alderman Williams said.

“We are not just talking about sustainability and resilience in terms of our environmental obligations, but also to our community and to our bottom line and budget,” she said.

The project is expected to commence in January with a project plan, including methodology and timeframes, to be presented to a workshop in February, 2018.