EMRC E-Newsletter - June 2016

EMRC E-Newsletter - June 2016

In this issue:

CEO's Message

PETER B. SCHNEIDERApril marked my ten year anniversary working with the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council and in the past ten years I have watched the organisation grow and deliver real benefits to Perth's Eastern Region. Celebrating this milestone provides an opportunity to reflect and highlight recent achievements in long term projects including construction commencing on the Commercial and Industrial plant at Hazelmere and receiving Ministerial approval for EMRC's wood waste to energy plant. Reaching these milestones demonstrates that EMRC is on track to achieving our vision for sustainable waste management and these milestones were possible through significant commitment by staff and member Councils support over a number of years.

In addition to working towards our long term goals, EMRC has also made a number of new commitments to meet our organisational responsibilities. I am pleased to announce that staff member Daniel Beal, who has worked with the EMRC since December 2014, will become EMRC's first apprentice when he commences his qualifications later this year. The EMRC, in support of our Environmental Sustainability Strategy, has also secured Carbon Neutral Gold Standard Verified Emissions Reductions to offset 80 tonnes of CO2e emissions for Ascot Place Fleet and Air Travel for the 2014/2015 financial year.

I look forward to continuing to work with staff and our member Councils in striving to achieve a prosperous future for the region.

Chief Executive Officer

Construction starting at Hazelmere

Construction has commenced on EMRC's Commercial and Industrial plant, at the Hazelmere Resource Recovery Park. The purpose of the plant is to receive dry commercial waste and sort it into reusable or resaleable components thus reducing waste to landfill. Contractors completed the site preparation works including drainage works and the building pad in early May 2016, utilising ferricrete from the Red Hill Waste Management Facility. We are currently progressing with the construction of a portal frame for the building, with completion expected in June 2016. The sorting plant design has been finalised with the plant currently being fabricated.

EMRC's First Apprentice

EMRC are pleased to announce the commencement of our first apprentice, Daniel Beal, Trades Assistant Labourer. Daniel will gain a Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology, in partnership with Apprenticeship Support Australia and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Daniel will commence his apprenticeship training in July 2016. This apprenticeship will provide Daniel with formal qualifications in motor mechanics upon completion. Daniel is the first apprentice employed by EMRC and we are very pleased and proud to help Daniel further his skills base.

EMRC are committed to retaining and developing a knowledgeable and efficient workforce and we encourage staff to continue to upgrade their skills.

EMRCs first apprentice

Daniel Beal, EMRC's first apprentice.

Steaming to Success

Following an increasing community concern surrounding the risk of using chemicals, EMRC, with funding from the Department of Parks and Wildlife Rivers and Estuaries Division, purchased a Steamwand weed machine to provide an alternative to chemical weed control.

Steamwand weed control training for local government officers and people working in the landcare and horticultural industries to utilise as an alternative to chemical control methods was provided by the EMRC in April at various sites within Perth's Eastern Region. Over 30 participants are now certified to operate the Steamwand machine.

The Steamwand machine is available for hire from EMRC by local government organisations and community catchment groups. If you would like more information, please contact Jaya Vaughan on (08) 9424 2245 or email Jaya.Vaughan@emrc.org.au.

Steaming to Success

The Steamwand SW700 in action at Lion Mill Creek, Mount Helena.

Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity

On Tuesday, 19 April 2016, the Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity seminar was held at the EMRC. The three key presentations were provided by Ben Ford, Research Assistant, University of Western Australia, talking about the impacts of climate change on species distribution. Dr Belinda Robson, Associate Professor, Murdoch University, who spoke on the impacts of rivers and wetland biodiversity and Trish Brennan, a volunteer at Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre, explained the impacts climate change is having on Carnaby's Cockatoo.

As the climate changes, species naturally learn to adapt but this process normally occurs over thousands of years. With human induced climate change accelerating changes in climatic conditions, species are unable to change and adapt. As a result we are seeing a greater loss in biodiversity.

Delivered under EMRC's Future Proofing program, the aim of the seminars is to highlight the potential impacts of climate change on local governments and identify their responsibilities to addressing these risks. For more information on Future Proofing or upcoming seminars, contact Erin Harrison, Environmental Projects Officer, on (08) 9424 2247 or Erin.Harrison@emrc.org.au.

Harmony the Carnaby and Trish Brennan

Harmony the Carnaby and Trish Brennan

Experience Perth's Eastern Region by Bicycle

Looking for activities to keep the family active has now been made easier thanks to the recently updated Perth Tourism website. 'What are your weekend plans?' is the first of a two-part promotion, highlighting the best bicycle trails in Perth's Eastern Region.

With some of the best bicycle trails in Western Australia, Perth's Eastern Region is the perfect place to get outdoors and back on your bike. The website provides details on experiences along the Swan River, through the Swan Valley and up into the Perth Hills and includes the growing list of bikefriendly cafes.

The 'What are your weekend plans?' recreational bicycle trail promotion was launched in April 2016 by EMRC and includes family friendly favourites such as:

  • The Railway Reserves Heritage Trail (Mundaring);
  • Swan Valley Heritage Cycle Trail; and
  • The Kalamunda Mountain Bike Trails.

The updated Perth Tourism website can be viewed at www.perthtourism.com.au. Copies of 'What are your weekend plans?' flyers are available from a range of outlets including visitors centres, Council facilities and bikefriendly cafes. Part two, due to be released during the spring school holidays, will feature the region's best walking trails.

For more information on the 'What are your weekend plans?' recreational bicycle trail promotion, contact Philip Taylor, Senior Strategic Projects Officer, on (08) 9424 2206 or email Philip.Taylor@emrc.org.au.

Understanding and Managing Flood Risk in Perth's Eastern Region

EMRC has successfully completed stage one of 'Understanding and Managing Flood Risk in Perth's Eastern Region', a flood study for the Swan and Helena Rivers. Stage one of the project, Swan and Helena Rivers Flood Study: Hydrology, estimated how much water might flood Perth's Eastern Region from the Swan, Avon and Helena Rivers catchment following significant rainfall events.

Stage one of the Swan and Helena Rivers Flood Study: Hydrology project received funding under the Natural Disaster Resilience Program administered by the Western Australian State Emergency Management Committee through a National Partnership Agreement on Natural Disaster Resilience with the Australian Government. The $200,000 project is a collaboration between the EMRC, Department of Water and the Cities of Bayswater, Belmont and Swan.

Up to date industry standard flood risk information is required to enable emergency preparedness and disaster resilience that incorporates climate change considerations and assesses the vulnerability of public and private property and infrastructure.

The recent study provided detailed hydrological modelling of the Swan, Avon and Helena Rivers catchment and produced robust and defensible flood estimates that can be used for flood forecasting.

The results from stage one will be used for future stages of the 'Understanding and Managing Flood Risk in Perth's Eastern Region' project, which is currently subject to funding. Subject to funding, planned future stages of the project include hydraulic modelling and mapping, as well as providing input to a flood risk and vulnerability assessment to develop a Floodplain Management Strategy.

For more information on this project contact Joanne Woodbridge, Environment and Sustainability Coordinator on (08) 9424 2243 or email Joanne.Woodbridge@emrc.org.au.

swan river1 swan river2
The Swan River

'Healthy Wildlife Healthy Lives' -- A One Health Project

Murdoch University is working with the EMRC on the 'Healthy Wildlife Healthy Lives' -- A One Health Project, supported by Lotterywest. 'One Health' is a worldwide initiative that recognises that the health of humans, animals and the environment are all directly linked and promotes the health and wellness of all species.

The 'Healthy Wildlife Healthy Lives' project aims to educate the public about 'One Health', focusing on people's contact with wildlife in urban areas. Information will be developed on how people and domestic animals spread diseases to wildlife such as birds, quenda (bandicoots), native fish and kangaroos.

Data on the extent of disease spread to wildlife from people and domestic animals will be collected during this project and will help to improve the existing level of knowledge and information about this problem. This will assist in providing targeted education and to measure the success of the program.

Once completed, the 'Healthy Wildlife Healthy Lives' project will be extended to areas outside the region. This will help to sustain wildlife health and conservation across the wider community. The project will boost community health and quality of life via the proven benefits associated with contact with nature.

For more information on the 'Healthy Wildlife Healthy Lives' -- A One Health Project, contact Catherine Nind, Environmental Project Officer, on (08) 9424 2212 or via email Catherine.Nind@emrc.org.au.

EMRC Hosts Water Sensitive Cities Index Workshop

On Tuesday, 3 May 2016, EMRC hosted the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) Index Tool Testing workshop. The Water Sensitive Cities Index has been designed for assessing the water sensitivity of urban places and informing management responses to improve water sensitive practices.

The purpose of the workshop was to demonstrate and test the Index, determine its usefulness and make sense of the benchmarking scores from a previous workshop that was held in February 2016. The workshop included discussion on how to develop a business case, improve collaboration between organisations, undertake program planning, enhance communication and advocate for improved water outcomes. The Index, once complete will be able to be used in local governments and cities across Australia and the rest of the world.

EMRC's membership to the CRCWSC assisted in the City of Swan being selected as one of the only two local governments in Australia to trial the Pilot Index. The City of Swan will be able to use the tool to assist its continuous improvement of water management practice and policy. A full beta version of the Index is scheduled for release in September 2016 and there is already global interest in the product.

For more information on the CRCWSC Index visit our page here.

Workshop to Develop EMRC's New Regional Environmental Strategy

EMRC hosted a stakeholder workshop on 4 May 2016 to develop a new Regional Environmental Strategy 2016-2020. Participants included EMRC member Councils -- Town of Bassendean, City of Bayswater, City of Belmont, Shire of Kalamunda, Shire of Mundaring and City of Swan, as well as attendees from the community, Department of Water, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Department of Aboriginal Affairs, WA Local Government Association, Perth Natural Resource Management and the State Natural Resource Management Office.

Attendees were provided with a discussion paper prior to the workshop detailing global environmental and sustainability trends, national and state initiatives and local government innovations. Participants used an interactive Audience Response System that gave them the opportunity to vote on environmental issues of importance to the region, providing consolidated responses immediately to the audience.

A second stakeholder workshop will be held on 20 July 2016 to provide feedback into the draft Regional Environmental Strategy. For more information contact Naomi Rakela, Manager Environmental Services on (08) 9424 2273 or email Naomi.Rakela@emrc.org.au.

Bush Skills 4 Youth Workshops

The Bush Skills 4 Youth (BS4Y) program delivered two workshops in April; connecting young people aged 8 to 16 with local bird expert Simon Cherriman to learn about birds. Over 60 young people and about 20 adults participated in the free Lotterywest supported workshops.

The workshops created the opportunity for young people to meet Simon and experience his passion for eagles and other birds. At Poison Gully, in Maida Vale, participants walked along the creek banks with Simon looking for signs of birdlife in the different trees and shrubs. They discovered evidence of birds that had been in the area and used binoculars to try and see the birds that they could hear.

The second workshop in John Forrest National Park took participants into the amazing world of wedge tail eagles, who can be found all over Australia. The day started with a presentation from Simon and then a walk into eagle habitat, which overlooked an expansive area of valley and hills. Teams then put their learning to the test by creating eagle nests.

Future Bush Skills 4 Youth holiday workshops will take young people aged 8 -- 11 years old and 12 -- 16 years old into bushland areas to learn about Aboriginal seasons and culture and plants and native animals. If you are interested in arranging a workshop in a bushland setting contact Cathy Levett, Environmental Projects Officer, on (08) 9424 2244 or email Catherine.Levett@emrc.org.au.


After receiving the 2015 Major Bikely Award for the event that best promotes and celebrates cycling for transport and attracts new riders to the cycling community, #ride2market returned in 2016 bigger and better and included a newly designed logo.

#ride2market is a series of companion events supporting and enhancing existing local farmer and hawker markets in Perth's Eastern Region by providing bicycle valet services and market voucher incentives to encourage cycling for transport.

Cycling initiatives often attempt to target women and children given the low participation rates generally observed by these demographics. Of the 157 people who participated in the five #ride2market events in 2016, 44% were under 13 years of age, 44% were female and all wore "normal" clothing, helping to normalise cycling in the community.

These events were part of Bike Week 2015 and 2016 and were made possible through a Bike Week grant from the Department of Transport, WestCycle and in collaboration with the following markets:

  • Kalamunda Farmers Markets
  • Maylands Hawker Markets
  • Mundaring Sunday Markets
  • Old Perth Road Markets
  • Stirling Square Markets

ride2market logo

The new #ride2market logo which was launched in 2016

Council and committee meeting dates

Meeting dates for 2017 are available online:

EMRC Council

EMRC Committees