The City of Ballarat has joined forces with 23 other councils to lodge a Planning Scheme Amendment to the Victorian Minister for Planning in a push for more sustainability design requirements.
The amendment seeks to build on the current Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) requirements for new developments and in doing so, better protect the natural environment, reduce resource and energy consumption, and support the health and wellbeing of future occupants.
Alongside the request for the amendment, Ballarat Council said it will write to the Minister for Planning seeking support for the amendment and reiterating that the current planning requirements do not reflect the real and immediate climate change risk.
“The request for the Planning Scheme Amendment is a joint effort of members of the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment and supported by the Municipal Association of Victoria. The 24 members represented approximately half of the Victorian population,” Ballarat Council said in a statement.
“In further good news for sustainability, the City of Ballarat has recently obtained approval to share an Environmentally Sustainable Design Advisor from the Regional Planning Hub. This is to assist planning and development with implementation of the Environmentally Sustainable Design policy.
“Environmentally Sustainable Design principles aim to improve the health and comfort of buildings for occupants whilst at the same time reducing negative impacts on the environment,” it said.
The successful application for an Environmentally Sustainable Design Advisor is a resourced position shared across six regional Councils: City of Ballarat, City of Greater Bendigo, City of Greater Geelong, Horsham Rural City, Mildura Rural City, Moorabool Shire and Warrnambool City.
Council says the new Environmentally Sustainable Design Advisor will assist with education and training within its Statutory Planning team. Development of the Environmentally Sustainable Design controls and ensuring they are fit for purpose for Ballarat, will be one of the Officer’s key roles, it said.
“The controls will assist with protecting our environment, living standards for residents, future-proofing communities and reducing the impact of climate change.”
The City of Ballarat Council Plan 2021 – 2025 outlines six goals for the City of Ballarat to achieve, two of which are; an environmentally sustainable future and a city that fosters sustainable growth.
In May 2022 Ballarat City Council unanimously endorsed Stage 2 of the Elevating Environmentally Sustainable Design project.
City of Ballarat Councillor, Mark Harris said it was a great step toward a culture of sustainability within the City of Ballarat.
“It is crucial the City of Ballarat ensures residential and commercial development is built to the highest environmental standards, with continued population growth expected in the Ballarat area,” he said.
“The new Environmentally Sustainable Design policy reflects the City of Ballarat’s growing focus on environmental and sustainability issues and will benefit current and future communities by making homes and workplaces more sustainable and liveable.”