By Ewen McRae
Two significant environmental projects in Melton are finalists in this year’s Keep Victoria Beautiful Sustainable Cities Awards.
Among just 14 council projects up for contention is a Melton council street tree passive irrigation initiative that will eventually divert up to 38 million litres of stormwater runoff during rainfall events.
This will enhance street tree growth, beautify the local area and increase the capacity of the wetland systems to protect creeks from erosion, habitat destruction and pollutants.
Melton council is the first council in Australia to require that developers install passive irrigation for all new street tree plantings as a condition of a planning permit.
The passive irrigation system is already being rolled out in front of thousands of lots across the city.
Melton council chief executive Kelvin Tori said the initiative was about protecting the city’s environment now and in the future.
“Our population is fast growing and we want to ensure the beautiful green surrounds that attract families to this suburban lifestyle is sustained for generations to come,” Mr Tori said.
“This project takes some of the urban stormwater that would otherwise go directly to our wetlands and creeks, and instead uses it to enhance tree growth and provide leafier, greener local streets.”
In the community category, the Eynesbury rabbit mapping project, funded by council’s World Environment Day Grant, is one of 10 finalists vying for the award.
The Eynesbury Environment Group began the ambitious Hop into Action Project to map out rabbit warrens and inform a reduction plan.
“Overgrazing from rabbits is a major threat to the long-term sustainability of the environmental areas that surround the Eynesbury township, including the beloved Grey Box Woodland,” Mr Tori said.
“So far, 128 warrens have been mapped in just seven per cent of the woodland, highlighting the need for this project and it’s potential to inform an environmental protection plan for the future.
“Both of these projects highlight some of the many ways council and the community are being proactive in minimising our city’s impact on the environment.
“We’re proud that these projects have been recognised in the Keep Victoria Beautiful Awards and we look forward to the upcoming awards ceremony.”
The winners of the Keep Victoria Beautiful Awards will be announced in a virtual ceremony on November 12.