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Published Wednesday 13 June 2018
Tags:General, Media Release

Community feedback helps shape our environment programs and initiatives

Improvements to bushland reserves and raising awareness about sustainability are among projects being carried out by Council’s environment team which are heavily reflected in a recent community survey.

The Community Environment Survey is undertaken every four years to help council guide and develop its environmental projects and programs.

The survey asked participants questions such as what they valued most about Mitchell’s natural environment and what were the most important environmental issues.

Survey results indicated the community values parks and open spaces, with over 90 per cent having visited a bushland reserve in Mitchell over the past year.

This backs up the work council has been doing to manage and enhance our parks and reserves, such as large government-funded improvements at the Broadford Common and Monument Hill Reserve in Kilmore.

Raising community awareness of environment and sustainability was rated by survey participants as a high priority, which was reflected in a recent permaculture book launch at Seymour Library attended by 110 people.

Meanwhile, the survey revealed 83 per cent of respondents control their own weeds – something council does extensively. Last financial year, council controlled declared noxious and environmental weeds in 39 reserves and along 574km of roadsides.

Other highlights of the survey included:

  • 46.5 per cent of respondents were part of a local environment or sustainability community group
  • 93 per cent believe climate change leads to more extreme weather events
  • 93 per cent believe it’s important for council to reduce its greenhouse emissions
  • Top five things people valued about Mitchell’s natural environment:

Native wildlife Native vegetation Parks and reserves Social values Rural/natural landscape

  • Top five environmental issues identified:

Loss of native plants and animals (biodiversity) Land use change (eg rural land used for residential, business or other development) Waterways, wetlands protection and enhancement Pest plants and animals Raising community awareness of environment and sustainability

Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said the environment was very important to both council and the community.

“Mitchell’s natural environment is one of our greatest assets and the results from this survey reaffirm just how much the environment means to our community,” Cr Sanderson said.

“The results will help us better understand the environmental and sustainability activities being undertaken by our community, as well as the challenges they may face in undertaking these activities.

“We will now be able to analyse this data and it will help us implement future environment programs and even improve our current programs.”

Environmental sustainability was also added as a service area to Local Government Victoria’s annual Community Satisfaction Survey this year for the first time and was in council’s 10 top service areas for community satisfaction.