Community projects worth nearly $5 million have been funded over the 17-year life of the Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s (EPA) Inspiring Environmental Solutions (IES) Program with the latest project seeing land redeveloped and improved for use as a family park in Hobsons Bay.
Brooklyn Reserve on Cypress Avenue, Brooklyn, has received $200,000 under the IES Program with matching funding from Hobsons Bay Council to redevelop the land, improving its amenity as well as its environmental performance with tree planting and landscaping.
In 2015, Brooklyn meat rendering company Australian Tallow Producers Pty Ltd (ATP), was found to be in contravention of the Environment Protection Act 1970 at Melbourne Magistrates Court. In 2011, ATP polluted the atmosphere by allowing odours so offensive to humans they were described as being like that of a ‘rotting carcass”.
Following an EPA investigation, ATP was convicted on all charges and, among other fines, ordered to pay $200,000 to Hobsons Bay City Council to fund a community environmental project; the money going to the Brooklyn Reserve project.
“Brooklyn Reserve is a great example of how the IES scheme has been used to channel nearly $5 million of funding derived from legal action against polluters, into local community projects for the benefit of the community,” said EPA CEO Nial Finegan.
“The ATP fine is one of the largest collected in the scheme's history. More recently Tuftmaster Carpets was ordered to pay $25,000 to the Darebin Creek Management Committee on 21 June 2017 after causing a spill that damaged the creek waters. And on 8 June 2017, Speedie Waste was ordered to pay $20,000 to Merri Creek Management Committee.
“EPA sees the IES program as a valuable tool and good example of how EPA works with communities to help inspire environmental citizenship and protect their local environment through projects to which we can financially contribute.”
Mayor of Hobsons Bay Councillor Sandra Wilson said that the outcome through the EPA’s Inspiring Environmental Solutions program was a win for the Brooklyn community.
“With the new playspace and other upgrades to the reserve, there is little doubt in my mind that the Brooklyn Reserve will quickly become the heart of the neighbourhood and a valued community space to socialise, play and exercise.”