Response from David Hughes
- Following the example of other similar councils across Australia, regarding action on climate change, what climate change mitigation and/or adaptation actions do you see as important for Gawler Council over the next 4 years? (For example https://www.resilientsouth.com)
Council needs to set the example and help community on a local level to follow in its actions, energy systems, minimise resource (power and water) use and adapt on a local level. Council policies need to address Climate change.
Assist our green belt landowners in our rural zone by reducing their rates by at least 10%. This was defeated in 2018 and 2017 by Gidman, Tooley, Vallelonga, Symes and Nicolson. Local food production is important to reduce transport or food miles and for local jobs.
Encourage recycling and green waste use on a local level. Use of Willaston private and NAWMA facilities needs to be fostered by Council to reuse and recycle by residents.
- Lots of residential development is happening in Gawler at the moment. Some concerns have been raised regarding subsequent financial and environmental impacts to the community and council, please describe your approach or concerns about the following two aspects:
a) Ensuring, where possible, development incorporates sustainable design principles at design stage.
Big savings in power consumption can be achieved through simple design technics, sighting, aspect and materials to be used in the building. Open space is using local native endemic species (require low inputs to establish and maintenance plus low maintenance shade trees. Good walking and cycling paths linked to local schools and shops to encourage heathy community movement.
Council needs to have well established biodiversity systems on a local level to support our important ecosystem services;
- reducing erosion and soil loss by holding soil together thus is difficult to erode by wind or heavy rain events.
- intact biodiverse systems provide protection against extreme weather conditions. In our steep creek environments the correct vegetation strategies will be much cheaper to establish and maintain than engineering solutions.
b) Ensuring that ongoing financial and energy inputs, to council (e.g. in maintenance of open space areas after hand-back to council) are considered at design stage.
Planning by Council at an early stage to ensure developers establish sustainable garden and open space designs suited to Gawler’s Climate. Our community on a monetary and climate change aspect cannot afford to water and maintain large exotic green spaces using species that require large amounts of fertilizer, water and upkeep. Like housing simple designs with correct materials and aspect can save huge amounts of inputs and still produce beautiful open spaces with nectar feeding native birds etc.
Strong healthy biodiverse systems are also crucial to sustaining farming, fishing, forestry and tourism activities which employ workers in Gawler and our region.
Projected temperature increases can lead to several medical conditions, including exhaustion and stroke. Treed shady and green areas can through recent studies reduce ambient temperatures by as much as 7 degrees in Gawler.
- The future of sustainable food production and other rural uses in Gawler’s Rural Zone has been an issue for Gawler Council over recent years. Proposals include changing the Rural Zone to focus on more residential development. What do you see as the future for Gawler’s Rural Zone?
If it’s all residential blocks Gawler’s identity will be lost forever. We will become just a northern suburb with no rural industries. From “best of town and country”, “to just town and suburbs”, we need to keep our village feel similar to Barossa Townships.
My first job after leaving Roseworthy College was as a horticulturalist working at a rose farm on a few acres on Gawler’s boundary. This productive property is still operating as is, with at least three other Rose properties in our rural zone. With the closure of Holden’s we need to keep and build our employing businesses. This zone means we have local food and flower production on our doorstep.
- Gawler has been a car reliant town, how would you encourage the adoption of sustainable transport options to help address Gawler’s traffic and car parking problems? (Eg. Footpaths suitable for bike trailers and prams, shade trees along footpaths, bicycle parking in the shopping precinct, water drinking fountains.)
For Gawler Councils recent walking and cycling plan I added a lot of comment on improving the corridors to make it easier and safer to get around especially for our school children and less able. Footpath upgrades have been a priority. We need to link our walking and cycling to encourage its use. Our new subdivisions need to be linked by these corridors. Wider footpaths are safer to use and encourage healthy social uses such as jogging, skating and cycling by families. The town now has a few electric charging stations for electric vehicles enabling shopping while their cars are recharged.
- Tell us about your ownpersonal initiatives to make your lifestyle sustainable.
As a family we installed a rainwater system plumbed to whole house. Established a wicking bed veggie garden, have fruit trees, working in with neighbours sharing produce especially eggs.
We shop local even for major purchases to keep jobs in our community. We use cardboard boxes and reusable shopping bags, reducing plastics. We have solar power and heating, planted local sustainable native gardens for fire safety and biodiversity, involved in education on sustainability on a local and regional level. Bushfire events will increase so I helped establish our own fire safe street with activities as we live in a high bushfire risk area with elderly residents.