Kent Town & Climate Change
7 November 2019
SA Country Women’s Association
Summary of Conference Proceedings
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Thirty people attended the Conference.
The KTRA President, David Baker, welcomed attendees acknowledging City of Norwood Payneham and St Peters (NPSP) Councillors (Scott Sims, Fay Patterson, Kester Moorhouse, Sue Worthington), President of the Norwood Residents Association, Chris Francis, the Committee members of the Kent Town Residents Association (KTRA) Rochelle Woodley-Baker, Mike Connolly, David Shores, and Andrew Fergusson (Website Administrator, KTRA).
Apologies were noted.
David acknowledged and thanked local businesses and residents:
- SA Country Women’s Association for their kind hosting of the Conference, hosting the KTRA’s activities involving mapping of trees in Kent Town, and hosting the proposed Kent Town Community Garden,
- Rodeo Design for the design of the Conference Flyer,
- Peacock Design/Print for the printing of the flyer,
- Dan Murphy’s St Peters for their donation towards the cost of the wine, and
- KTRA committee member David Shores for the food for the networking after-party.
The speakers were introduced to the Conference:
Naomi Prunckun (City of Norwood Payneham and St Peters (NPSP) is an environment and sustainability professional. She is passionate about environmental management as she sees this is an industry where she can make the greatest impact in improving human pressures on the world. Naomi has worked for State and Local Governments, private businesses and not-for-profits in a range of roles.
She found her passion in local government as it has a close connection to community and practical action.
Naomi has worked for Renmark Paringa Council as their Environmental Officer, Adelaide Plains Council as a Coastal Conservation Officer, and the City of Prospect as Environmental Sustainability Officer before her current role at the City of Norwood Payneham and St Peters (NPSP) as Sustainability Officer.
Naomi was a Coastal Ambassador in 2018 and Community Leader in Sustainability, a finalist for the Young Achiever Award and Young Landcare Leader Award in 2017.
Maddie Sarre (Australian Youth Climate Coalition) is a young climate activist. She became involved with taking action on climate change while in high school as she was concerned about the increase in bushfires in her local area in the Adelaide Hills.
She has volunteered for many years on campaigns to stop new fossil fuel projects and transition Australia to 100% renewable energy. In 2015 she attended the UN Climate Talks in Paris to lobby the Australian government to make serious commitments for the climate.
Currently she is living in Hackney and is focusing on being part of a growing grassroots movement to combat the climate crisis.
Tim Kelly has been the Co-ordinator of the Resilient East Project since 2017 before which he coordinated Adapting Northern Adelaide (Playford, Salisbury) between 2015 and 2017.
Tim was the Chief Executive of the Conservation Council from 2010 to 2013, before which he was the Principal Climate Change Advisor with SA Water. His background includes 18 years in the water industry in trade and technical roles and he has been a Country Fire Service (CFS) volunteer since 1983.
The following discussions followed the attached Presentation Slides. The Agenda is detailed on Slide 1.
Tim Kelly opened the presentations, setting the scene and referred to the climate change effects citing examples from the coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, the fish kills in the Murray-Darling river system, the drought in NSW, the decline in Arctic and Antarctic ice, the extending Fire Seasons and in places which haven’t normally experienced bushfires and the threat of extinction to many species (slides 2-10) and he referred to the mobilisations world-wide about climate change, referring to Extinction Rebellion.
He referred (slide 9) to the Climate Emergency Declarations across Councils in SA (and world-wide) and the subsequent discussion involving the Councillors pointed out that NPSP Council had not similarly passed the same Declaration. Slide 29 on the attached is the Declaration that the Council did adopt. In Naomi Prunckun’s subsequent discussion about the Council’s amended motion, Cr Moorhouse commented that the original motion, passed by other Councils, was amended and “toned down”. He stated that other members of Council are looking to see what other actions can be taken.
Naomi Prunckun followed and referred to the values of the NPSP (slides 12-19) and then addressed how climate change affects us, through discussing the extreme changes to temperatures, rainfall, and days of extreme fire risk and she addressed the threats that these changes are expected to have on people, landscapes and other aspects and how these will challenge Councils (slides 20-27).
She outlined what Council is doing to adapt to Climate Change (slides 28-33).
Tim Kelly then explained what Resilient East is doing.
Resilient East is an initiative between the Campbelltown City Council, the cities of Adelaide, Burnside, Norwood Payneham & St Peters, Prospect, Tea Tree Gully, Unley and the Town of Walkerville, to deliver a coordinated response to climate change and by sharing information, resources, responsibilities and actions achieve a Resilient East. He stated that Resilient East is one of 12 regions to prepare Climate Change Adaptation Plans.
He summarised what has been done and what is planned (slides 36-38). He pointed out what some Councils are doing individually (slides 39-46) and cooperatively (slide 47).
He discussed themes of water management and use (water sensitive urban design WSUB), and across Government collaboration promoting the use of spatial data (slides 48-52).
He addressed the question, “Our climate is changing. What can we do to get ready?”, discussing cooler roads and infrastructure and trees, and discussed Resilient East’s 2019-20 goals (slides 53-56). He mentioned that the SA Government has required all Councils to achieve a 20% increase in canopy cover by 2045.
Naomi Prunckun then discussed Local Government action, and citing statistics, about trees, ground surfaces, heat maps, temperatures, on both public and private land (slides 57-81). She addressed what communities and individuals can do including such things as water use management, verge gardening, cooling the spaces around homes and businesses, waste and recycling, and addressing how we use transport (slides 73-81).
Maddie Sarre brought the presentations together addressing the importance of mobilising for urgent action to address mitigation of and adaptation to climate change and its effects and to focus on renewable forms of energy production.
She explained how she had become involved in climate action initially through her concerns about bushfires, then on further exploration realised that climate change is about much more.
She stated that it is important to take action, however small and individual or in cooperation with others, such as she has with her active membership of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. She discussed her involvement in action in Australia and overseas, networking with other young people about climate change awareness and action and the impacts on communities across the globe. Maddie referred to her particular concerns about the fossil fuel industry, especially the proposed development of the Adani coal project and the funding by the Commonwealth Bank and her and her other activists’ role in the Bank withdrawing from funding the project.
She addressed the roles that we can play as constituents, eg voting and directly voicing concerns to elected representatives; as community members, eg being involved in our community and sharing views; or activists, eg being prepared to take a stand on what we believe, especially actions about climate change and she concluded with a slide (86) listing a non-exhaustive list of climate groups in Adelaide.
Points made during questions and answers:
- The point was made that Kent Town has the least amount of tree canopy cover of the 21 suburbs within the 6 wards of the City of Norwood Payneham and St Peters (NPSP). The tree and verge mapping initiatives of the Kent Town Residents Association (KTRA) was explained and the opportunities this offers to Council was pointed out.
- Naomi addressed the report of the i-tree canopy analysis, (Martinez A., Bachar Z and Ruby Wake (2018). Quantifying tree canopy cover change within the City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters). The report surveyed changes in amounts of hard surfaces and plantable surfaces from 1997, 2007, and 2017 across six suburbs and the entire municipality.
The report stated that 69.5% is private land, and 30.5% is public land. It concluded the following (I have added the comparative Kent Town numbers in bolded type):
2.1 Tree canopy cover on both public and private land combined, of the entire municipality, remained at approximately 25%. In Kent Town it decreased from 20% to 16%.
2.2 Tree canopy cover on private land, over the entire municipality, decreased from 23% to 21%. In Kent Town it decreased at a greater rate, from 19% to 15%.
2.3 Tree canopy cover on public land, over the entire municipality, increased from 30% to 34%. In Kent Town, however it conversely decreased from 22% to 20%.
2.4 Hard surfaces on both public and private land combined, over the entire municipality, increased from 57% to 61%. In Kent Town it increased at a greater rate, from 70% to 77%.
2.5 Hard surfaces on private land, over the entire municipality, increased from 58% to 64%. In Kent Town it increased similarly from 68% to 75%.
2.6 Hard surfaces on public land, over the entire municipality, decreased from 55% to 54%. In Kent Town it conversely increased from 74% to 78%.
2.7 Felixstow showed the highest tree canopy cover increase (23% – 28%) due mostly to the canopy growth of existing trees. Yet conversely in Kent Town it decreased from 20% to 16%.
2.8 Kent Town showed the highest hard surface increase from 70% to 77%, “due mostly to urban infill.”
2.9 Plantable public land (grass/bare ground, over the entire municipality) decreased from 12% to 9%. In Kent Town, total plantable ground decreased at a greater rate, from 10% to 7%.
In summary, the numbers indicate that Kent Town has fared poorly, comparatively and absolutely, on 8 of the above 9 factors with all other suburbs and the entire municipality. It is less able to adapt to the effects and challenges of Climate Change than its neighbours in the municipality. As the Report indicates,
“Overall, for each suburb and each period, the dominant land cover is hard surface. The trend is for hard surfaces to increase. The trend is for grass/bare ground i.e. plantable surface to decrease” (pp.5-9)…and that urban infill is a major contributor to these changes (p.6).
In conclusion, Kent Town is faced with a great number of urban infill developments which will contribute to these negative effects unless action is taken now to address them.
- A discussion ensued about Verge Gardens including removing and disposing of the dolomite hard surfaces, the best way of economically achieving this, and the schemes provided differently across Councils, with favourable mention about Unley.
- Discussion addressed the increased plantings of trees by Councils, various species to avoid in new plantings and ways to deal with less preferred existing trees, eg Cr Fay Patterson explained the Council’s policies in regard to Queensland Box trees.
- In response to a question, Maddie addressed the multiple reasons for increased number and intensities of bushfires and pointed to climate science evidence which indicates the increasing incidence and intensity of fires around the globe, despite various policies being implemented, eg back-burning and clearance of undergrowth fuel.
- Tim explained the meanings of the climate-related terms of mitigation and adaptation. He cited actions such as reducing carbon emissions and actions to prevent things getting worse as examples of mitigation, and explained adaption as adjusting to the impacts, such as through reforms to economies, fire management strategies, and energy generation and the sources, such as moving from burning of fossil fuels to alternative sources of energy generation.
- Tim addressed the issue of water usage policies and the benefits that can be attained through Councils’ greater use of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUB) policies and how these can have long term benefits to address the effects of climate change through supporting the growth of trees.
- Tim addressed a question about green walls in buildings to address the effects of climate change, saying that with urban consolidation we need to look at green walls, roof gardens, increased tree canopy cover, and the proposed new Planning and Design Code could address incentives for developers to include these kinds of innovations in their designs and buildings.
The Conference concluded with drinks and nibbles and much networking for the next hour or two.