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Council to pilot city green roofs, walls


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Adelaide City Council will conduct an intensive pilot project next year to test new ways of greening the city.

A “representative area” in the city will be chosen to host the program, which is likely to involve tree plantings and financial incentives for residents and businesses who erect green walls and roofs on their buildings.

Area councillor and former Greens political adviser Robert Simms moved a motion at a council meeting last night, instructing council administration to report on policy changes that would increase the amount of plant life on public and private property in the city.

The motion was passed unanimously by the council following an amendment by councillor Megan Hender to include the pilot project.

Simms said greening projects enjoyed broad support among city residents and businesses.

“I know from discussions I had during the recent election campaign (that) one of the things that unites the city is a desire to see increased investment in trees, green roofs and green walls,” Simms told InDaily.

“No-one wants to live in a concrete desert.

“There’s a real opportunity here to transform and transition Adelaide for the future.

“(City users) want an environment that is aesthetically pleasing and that also makes them feel at ease and relaxed.

“We’re a small scale city and there is potential to roll out some of this stuff in a big way and to really change the face of our city.”

The City of Sydney unveiled the country’s first green walls and roofs policy in August.

Green walls involve growing small plants on vertical surfaces, while green roofs are roof-top gardens.

“The experience in Sydney has shown that this is well-received by the community and I think it would be well-received here in Adelaide too,” Simms said.

“It makes for an aesthetic environment, it promotes biodiversity … but also I think it delivers real, tangible benefits for businesses and residents.

“Green roofs and walls are a natural form of insulation – that reduces energy consumption and therefore power bills.

“There’s a lot of evidence (that) green roofs and walls have an impact on health and wellbeing as well.

“The key will be working with residents and businesses to try and make that an attractive proposition.”

Hender said the pilot project would help council overcome perennial barriers to building green infrastructure.

“When we do try to green various parts of the city, we often come up against infrastructure and we’re told that it’s not possible,” Hender said.

“The idea here is to pilot this in a small and contained way… learning some lessons (and) applying those lessons to a much broader base across the city.

“I think there’ll be social impacts; I think there’ll be obviously environmental impacts; but there may well also be economic impacts.

“If we green an area, we may well increase the value of the properties in that area.”

Hender said the key to the program’s success would be to harness existing enthusiasm for greening projects in the city.

“We’ve got communities in the city who would be willing to provide trees, actually buy the trees for us,” she said.

“We’ve got communities who would be willing to do the digging. We’ve got communities who would be willing to look after the trees.”

She said an area should be chosen which includes homes and businesses, and which has some new capital works under construction “to see how we can incorporate greening when you’re doing new work, and how we can incorporate greening when you’re not doing new work”.

Council administration will deliver its report early next year.

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