Response from Paul Koch
- 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)
It’s important that the issue of climate change is part of Council’s core business. Cultural change is needed. I was one of those who lobbied for a Council sustainability officer, who is now working systematically through Council’s practices and processes to reduce our carbon footprint and save money. It’s important to plan a holistic approach to reducing Council’s carbon footprint. Council can take a role in leadership and education in this space.
I would also like to see Council transition to electric vehicles across the fleet with power offset by PV cells.
- 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.
When building, the aim should be to design for efficiency and sustainability right from the beginning, by enforcing design principles like solar orientation, energy efficiency ratings and water-sensitive design principles. Council needs to lobby to tighten up building codes and Development Plan policies.
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.
Of concern to me is the rolling out of highly intricate irrigated open-spaces. Plus having new reserves as close as 200m apart. I have worked for four councils, and dealt directly with developers, who often want as much irrigated open-space as possible, as the centre piece to a new land release, which ‘sells’ blocks.
These ‘high standard’ reserves require more resources (water, labour, materials and machinery use) compared to the reserves normally seen in Gawler. They are not sustainable financially or environmentally. The issue of equity should be addressed and the number of reserves should be rationalised.
- 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?
I have constantly advocated for retaining Gawler’s rural area and not slicing it into suburban blocks, proposed as low as 1600 to 2000 sq metres (ie 1/2 acre or less). That is like Cockshell Estate and Hamilton Park which are Residential Zone. Once it gone it’s gone. One argument from those who want subdivision is that the area is no longer viable for primary production. I disagree with this. There is significant horticulture currently occurring. Also as a horticulturist, I have experience in growing Australian native foods, and feel that a wide range of Australian native food crops could be grown commercially in the Rural Zone by adapting to new cropping systems.
- 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.)
Gawler should seriously look at becoming as cycling-friendly as possible, with bike lanes, secure parking etc so more people will feel comfortable and confident to cycle. This would relieve pressure on the road network. At times people may not be very confident on a bicycle amongst vehicles, but a culture of sharing the road would go a long way to create an environment conducive to cycling.
I was part of the committee that scoped the Gawler River shared path. This creates a safe route for cyclist and walkers to be able to link in to the town centre and railway stations for connections.
- Tell us about your ownpersonal initiatives to make your lifestyle sustainable.
- Designed and implemented a sustainable landscape that works in with the natural seasons, requiring little to no extra water.
- Installed greywater recycling system
- Recycle or compost majority of household waste.
- Recycle as much as possible through the yellow bin. For bulky material use we use on-line forums for re-distribution.
- Converted a car to electric drive 6 years ago, offsetting the energy used by PV panels on the house roof. Have covered over 40,000kms.
- Cycle as much as possible.
- Disconnected house airconditioning unit and use natural airflows, shading etc to cool our house in summer.
- Insulated the roof and installed overhead fans
- Replacing all my petrol-powered garden tools with battery operated (commercial grade) ones.