Biodiversity project start of $1M community and environment program

Published: 10 Jul 2020 11:52am

A three-year revegetation project expected to see up to 50,000 new plants in the ground around Bomen will be delivered as part of a $1M local community and environment program over the next decade.

Council has agreed to enter into a $350,000 funding agreement with Spark Infrastructure to undertake the revegetation program to enhance biodiversity in the Bomen precinct which aligns with the Special Activation Precinct Masterplan.

It is anticipated planting would occur during the winter months of 2021 / 2022 and would include between 40,000 - 50,000 plants.

Council’s Director Community Janice Summerhayes said Council’s Environment team will co-ordinate the program with on-going management in line with low maintenance levels for natural areas.

“There is a lot for the local community to gain through this funding source,” Ms Summerhayes said.

“Biodiversity is at the heart of this initial project and to see many more thousands of trees planted in the area is a major part of realising that balance between the environment and the city’s main industrial area.

“Council has recently released its draft Biodiversity Strategy which places great emphasis on a sustainable future for the local environment.

“To see revegetation projects such as this one already planned and approved is a great sign of things to come.”

The funding will cover the costs associated with the revegetation including site preparation, plants, planting, materials and watering.

Spark Infrastructure has recently completed its 120 MW Solar Farm at Bomen. The Australian-listed company in partnership with Westpac has established a community fund to invest $1M into the local community over the first 10 years of the solar farm’s operation.

The solar farm is located on 250 hectares of industrially zoned land. It comprises approximately 310,000 bi-facial solar panels and when fully operational will produce enough clean solar energy to power 36,000 homes per year.

The community fund has been developed to make a positive contribution to the local community and environment of Wagga Wagga.

The program objectives include:

* Education

To improve the social, educational, employment outcomes for disadvantaged young people in the Wagga Wagga region

* Environment

To increase biodiversity and improve the habitat and survival rates of the critically endangered Swift Parrot and the vulnerable Superb Parrot through a major revegetation program.

* Rural Fire Service

To support the Eunony Valley Rural Fire Service in their ongoing efforts to protect the local community and environment from fire.

* Agriculture and Solar

To contribute to the ongoing process of learning and education in how to concurrently use the land of solar farms for agricultural purposes.