The UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures has conducted a study proposing that the Queensland city of Ipswich could be home to Australia’s first major integrated residential and industrial eco-precinct.
The study was conducted on behalf of Thiess Waste Management, owners and operators of the Swanbank Renewable Energy and Waste Management facility located near the town.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale welcomed the proposal and said if implemented; it would transform the Swanbank precinct into a world-class industrial ecology park.
“The proposal calls for improved waste treatment, renewable energy generation and the creation of hundreds of new jobs,” Cr Pisasale said.
“The facility site is positioned close to high quality commercial and residential development and will provide further support to Ipswich City Council’s plans to make Ipswich one of the most ecologically sustainable cities in Australia.”
The industrial ecology precinct would be fully integrated to provide energy, heating and cooling (tri-generation) to developments such as the proposed Ripley Valley Town Centre.
Additionally, it would target industrial, commercial and residential development to be closely integrated with a source of renewable energy, heating and cooling. The key to the sustainability value will be proximity to the source of power, creating a premium for all developments surrounding the precinct.
The plan seeks to transform Swanbank from an industrial precinct housing waste industries and power stations into a leading industrial ecology precinct providing benefits to neighbouring commercial and residential developments by 2017.
Concurrent rehabilitation would ultimately transform the current Swanbank landfill into an open space area, possibly a golf course.
The vision is firmly based on and assessed against essential principles for economic renewal.
Professor Stuart White from the Institute for Sustainable Futures said the plan met the aims of sustainability.
“This proposal ticks the big three: community, environmental and economic sustainability,” He said. “The era of landfill as the primary waste management tool is over.
“Communities now expect reduced reliance on landfill, reuse of resources and environmental responsibility. Australian land-use planning and development has historically relied on the low cost of fossil fuel.
“As the cost of using oil and coal keeps increasing, new ways of thinking about how to arrange the economy, industry and lifestyles are paramount to harnessing economic competitiveness whilst living in balance with Australia’s finite natural resources,” Professor White said.
The proposal features a state-of-the-art solar hybrid power station ready to operate from 2017 with a carbon footprint more than six times lower compared to that of a fossil fuel power station.