Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson at Caloundra. Photo: Glenn Hunt
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson at Caloundra. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Millions spent on protecting Coast’s environment

SUNSHINE Coast Council has detailed how much of ratepayers' money was put towards protecting the environment last financial year as it released its Environment Levy Report.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said council invested $9.7 million into Environment Levy programs and initiatives in the 2018/19 financial year as part of the $33 million allocated to strengthening the Coast's environmental assets.

That figure is expected to increase this financial year to $10.8 million.

The levy also enabled council to purchase three additional properties across three catchments for $2.28 million, and allocate $1.28 million to the establishment and management of previously acquired land.

"As a result, our council's conservation estate now totals more than 6900ha, which I understand is the largest council-owned conservation estate in southeast Queensland," Cr Jamieson said.

"Our natural environment is an integral part of our value proposition, our identity and the quality of life for our residents."

Through the levy, council provided $622,000 to 22 groups and four community-based organisations to support their conservation efforts.

Council also now has 80 registered properties representing 1222 protected hectares operating under Voluntary Conservation Agreements.

"We'll need to continue spending money on the environment, but also carefully considering what the impacts of development will be," Cr Jamieson said.

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He said one of the main challenges was how to accommodate the Coast's growing population.

"I don't think we continue just to allow urban sprawl to satisfy the needs of new arrivals," he said.

Cr Jamieson said despite council "considerably" increasing the Environment Levy, he had not received any complaints from ratepayers.

"I've not had one ratepayer tell me they don't want to see that money spent on the important work we're undertaking," he said. "Many would like to see us spending more."

The Environment Levy Annual Report 2019-2019 is available to read on council's website.