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Sustainability E-newsletter April 2016

Check out the Byron Seed Share Launch - Council Sustainability Seminar, Tuesday 3rd May

Hosted by Byron Shire Council, come along to a special community evening for the launch of byron Hinterland Seed Savers’ new online sharing platform - Byron Seed Share.

Byron Seed Share is an innovative community development concept providing a space for Byron Shire community members to freely connect and share seeds, plants & local growing wisdom. The evening will showcase the new platform, screen a few inspiring short films about growing food and seed saving, a presentation by members of the network about self seeding plants that thrive

Seeds, plants and cuttings will be freely shared. 

Tuesday 3 May 2016 - 6:00pm. Byron Shire Council Chambers, Station Street, Mullumbimby
Light refreshments will be available.

Renewable Energy in Motion - First electric vehicle for Byron Shire Council

Byron Shire Council’s new renewable energy powered electric vehicle, a Nissan LEAF, is about to be set loose in the Byron Shire.

Courtesy of a generous long term loan from Nissan, the completely electric vehicle has been designed to consider the cradle to grave life cycle. Some of the green design features include seats made from recycled plastic bottles and a reusable bumper bar.

Byron Shire Council is pleased to be partnering with Nissan in a long-term trial that will see the LEAF electric vehicle in high use on the streets of Byron Bay.

Byron Shire mayor, Simon Richardson welcomed the first zero emissions vehicle into Council fleet.

“Council will continue to share information about the utilization and driver experience of the vehicle to better understand how cars of the future can be adapted into council fleets; not just in forward thinking areas such as the Byron Shire, but across the country.”

Sandi Middleton, Byron Shire Council sustainability officer, went on to say that “soon a fast charging station will be installed for general public use in Byron Bay. It will be supplied by 100% renewable energy from our local retailer Enova Energy. It allows for an electric vehicle to be charged from empty to full in around 30 minutes.”

The charging station is part of a broader Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Strategy that Council is developing in partnership with Tweed, Lismore and Ballina Council. The aim of the strategy is to promote regional uptake of electric vehicles to business and the community.

Some of the barriers to electric vehicle uptake researched is ‘range anxiety’ or the fear of not being about to get home with enough charge.

Ms Middleton said that having a fast charging station in Byron Bay and hopefully in the other major towns, will help allay those fears and enable people to seriously consider this zero emissions transport option.

For more information about the project please contact Sandi Middleton, Sustainability Officer, Byron Shire Council on 02 6626 7305.

Get involved with the Tweed Byron Koala Connections Forum on Friday 6 May

Tweed and Byron Shire Council have an exciting programme planned for the Koala Connections Forum on Friday 6 May. 

Project leaders will share their stories and provide the opportunity for feedback and ideas in an open discussion. 

Presentations and discussions will include: 

  • strategic and innovative large-scale revegetation
  • landholder and community engagement 
  • environmental impact and threat management 
  • successes and lessons learnt
  • where to from here? 

Discuss koala recovery ideas with the entire project team and help celebrate in their successes to date. 

Book now to secure your place - tickets are selling fast, limited seating!

Free solar pumping workshop

Don’t miss this free solar pumping workshop to find out how your farm business can benefit from clean energy technologies to move water.

Speakers will explain what government incentives are available, top tips on energy efficient pumps and how to plan for future climate variability. Talk to local suppliers and hear about case studies from our region.

Bookings are essential.

RSVP to Tweed Shire Council on (02) 6670 2400 by 10 May 2016.

25 to go Solar

On 17 March 100 Go Solar celebrated the first 25 businesses to install solar with a function at the Green Building Centre.

A wide range of businesses in the shire including Bangalow Rug Shop, Brunswick River Inn, Byron Youth Service, Chincogan Store and North Coast Events were in the running for prizes generously donated by local businesses -  Mullum Mac, Beach, Barefruit Marketing, 2Die4 Foods and Crystal Castle - drawn by Jane Laverty, Economics and Tourism, Byron Shire Council.

 “It’s easy and profitable for businesses to go solar” said Vicki Brooke “any business - including home-based businesses - with an ABN can join 100 Go Solar".  See



Join us on Mothers Day and Plant a local native tree for your Mum, or with your Mum, and for the Koala Mums!

Free live music will be provided.  Brunswick Valley Landcare will be providing a delicious BBQ brunch (gold coin donation).

Where: The Byron Shire Council road reserve, Left Bank Road Mullumbimby (near the Shearwater School and Fossil Farm Organics).

When: Sunday 8th May   Planting commences at 8.30am until 10 am. Music and refreshments from 10 am to 12.30 pm.

Please bring drinking water and wear gloves, long sleeves and long pants, with protective footwear. Trees will be provided and laid out ready for planting with all holes ready.

For more information, contact Koala Connections Project Officer, Jo Green on 6626 7068.

Student passports packed for a trip to the Cape Byron Marine Park

School students in Byron Shire have recently been using their Marine Estate Agents passports for a journey into the Cape Byron Marine Park.  The Marine Estate Agents Program, delivered by Department of Primary Industries (DPI), raises awareness amongst primary school students about the local marine environment, and how to care for and protect marine plants, animals and their habitat.

The program is a great way for schools to bring the local marine environment into their classrooms. Students have recently discovered what is in the Cape Byron Marine Park by completing a series of tasks in their Marine Estate Agents passports. The passport provides a guided learning experience on topics such as local marine biodiversity, threatened species, marine debris, marine habitats and protected area management. Students receive a stamp in their passport as they complete each learning experience. 

The program links with the Australian Curriculum and allows students to learn about maintaining a healthy marine environment and potential threats that may inhibit this. One topic given particular attention is the impact of litter on our marine life through entanglement and ingestion. The program also provides students with an opportunity to share this information in a creative way with family, friends and the community.

This program was initially developed by the Solitary Islands Marine Park as part of its highly successful marine education program; it has been adapted to suit the local marine environment with a strong focus on the values of the Cape Byron Marine Park.

The program commenced in February 2016 and is due to be completed on the 27th of May, participating schools are eligible for the Marine Estate Agents Environmental Awards which will be presented on World Oceans Day on 8 June 2016.

Interested schools are asked to contact the Marine Parks office on 02 6691 0600 for further information.


There's 1 week to go until the Community Powerhouses Webinar on May 4, 6-7pm AEST.

Community Powerhouses is a bold new policy idea to turbo-charge community energy in Australia. Providing funding of up to $46 million a year, the program wI'll provide support and funding to help community groups get local projects off the ground.

And with a federal election coming up - and political leaders looking about for good policy ideas - now is the moment to turn this idea into reality.

Join Nicky Ison - co-author of Community Powerhouse proposal - at this webinar to find out how!

This one hour long webinar will include:

  • A presentation and discussion on the Community Powerhouse program: what it is, how it will work, what it will deliver
  • Details of the plan to win this policy this election - and how you can be a part of it

Biodiversity events for you and the family

Free workshop – Water Bugs and Creek Health Check

Want to learn about the bugs that live in our creeks and what they tell us about the creek health?  Come along and learn with Barbara Jensen.

Sunday 1st May   9.30 am – 12 pm, in Main Arm (location provided with registration).  Please contact Justin

Free workshop – Identifying Trees using Barks and Trunks

Ever wondered how to identify a tree when all you can see is the trunk?  Come and learn skills with Peter Poropat that will help you to identify rainforest trees using the bark and trunk features. 

Sunday 15th May   9.00 am – 1 pm, in The Pocket (location provided with registration).  Please contact Justin


Organic Food Cooperative now open 3 days per week

Byron’s organic food cooperative, Co-op Kulcha is now open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am-6pm.

The food cooperative is still run by volunteers from non-profit organisation Kulchajam at 1 Acacia St in the Arts & Industry Estate Byron Bay. Open to both members and non-members, so everyone is welcome. Those people interested in volunteering at the cooperative and receiving membership benefits can find out more here: