Councillor Don Palmer Providing Local Leadership & Working for You

After moving a motion of climate significance at our January Council meeting, I find myself asking how serious about climate change is the City of Unley?

The current Council has been focused heavily on how to keep and/or improve our tree canopy cover. To lift our tree canopy to 31% as required of us by the State Government. Make no mistake, we are doing much and (I believe) leading the way. We have recognised however that if we do not do more than we are currently doing we will actually see, not again, but a loss of tree canopy by 2045.

We have identified where we can plant more trees on the property we control. This we are pursuing.

It won’t take long however before which we can plant no more trees. That is because we own only 16% of the available land in Unley. To meet our goals, we must therefore influence those who own the remaining 84%.

There are two approaches we have been examining.

The first is to address the loss that is occurring by way of redevelopment of the properties within our City. Something we have no direct control over as development is a State responsibility. We have been pursuing both sides of politics in an attempt to influence the future of the Planning & Design Code. This we continue to do.

The second is where I believe we had a great chance to show leadership. Instead, it is my opinion that we failed. We lost the opportunity.

That is to stop the loss of tree canopy cover on properties that are not being redeveloped. Our administration has responded to us and gone to great lengths to come up with solutions.

The motion I referred to at the beginning of this article concerned the use of financial incentives.

The focus of the motion was to take a proposition to our community. To test them and see whether they would support financial incentives to improve our local climate. I was keen to see what our community felt.

The motion however was resoundingly defeated. This means to me that we have taken it upon ourselves to determine for them what their reaction would be. This is despite our undertakings in our recent tree strategy.

It really does beg the question in my view as to how serious is the City of Unley about climate change. I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t we?