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From business surveys to smart bubblers in Lake Macquarie, discovering new frog species in Port Stephens, Morph-It in Maitland and Waste Avengers in Cessnock to creating a seed library in Newcastle. Right across the region, we’ve been busy working towards a better future. What’s been happening in your local community this month?

Seed Library Harvests New Community Partnership Newcastle Libraries will harvest the flourishing momentum for home vegetable gardens with the launch of the City’s first free Seed Library.

One of the unexpected outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a national surge in the number of people growing fresh herbs and vegetables at home. Newcastle Libraries will help cultivate this trend further by offering a variety of free seeds that residents can ‘borrow’ from the library to plant in their own gardens. Residents will be encouraged to share in the fruits of each other’s labour by returning seeds from their next harvest to the library to help re-stock and expand the collection.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the Newcastle Seed Library was an innovative community partnership project that would continue to flourish and grow as more people became involved.

“Growing your own vegetables is a fantastic way to teach children about the life cycle of plants while learning new seed-saving skills yourself. The best thing is you don’t need a huge amount of space to get started, with many of the plants able to be grown in pots.”

The Seed Library is being piloted at Wallsend Library with additional branches to be added depending on demand. For more information visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au

Lake Macquarie Council Launches Local Business Survey Lake Macquarie City Council is hoping to hear from local businesses about how it can better support them and provide information about opportunities across the city.

Council has launched an online business survey to capture feedback from the more than 12,000 businesses that call Lake Mac home.

“This year hasn’t gone as expected for many businesses across our city; it’s been really tough. We have a wonderful community of businesses, the majority of which are small business owners, and it’s important that they feel informed and have the support from Council if they need it,” said Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser.

“We know business owners are incredibly busy, often working from home and in the evenings at all different hours, even when they are closed. We want to find out what kind of information they need and what is going to be helpful, as well as what is the best way to provide it to them. I’m keen to hear their feedback and encourage our local businesses to participate in the survey.”

The business survey is open until Friday 27 November, with Council staff also visiting economic centres and industrial areas around the city to talk to business owners face to face. Visit shape.lakemac.com.au/business-survey to complete the Lake Mac Business survey.

Hunter Water Partnership Delivers two New Smart Water Bubblers in Lake Mac Lake Macquarie City Council has partnered with Hunter Water this National Water Week to deliver two new smart water refill stations in Cardiff and at Belmont Baths.

The initiative aligns with both organisations efforts to reduce reliance on single-use plastic bottles, while also raising awareness of water conservation across our community.

Lake Macquarie Mayor, Cr Kay Fraser said the new water bubblers were a great way to remind people about their water use, but they also provide accessible, easy to use stations to refill water bottles when people are out and about around the city.

“The stations are easy to use when refilling your water bottle and they even include a foot pedal to fill a bowl of fresh water for our furry friends. They are a vast improvement on the traditional bubblers and will help our city continue our shift towards becoming a smart, water sensitive city.” For more information on ways you can love water, visit www.hunterwater.com.au/lovewater

Discovering Mahony’s Toadlet The discovery of a new frog species and the journey to protect it, has landed Port Stephens Council the Roadside Environment Management Award at the Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Awards 2020.

Announced at a virtual ceremony, the award recognises Council’s ‘Discovering Mahony’s Toadlet – a journey to expand the Hunter and Central Coast Roadside Environmental Marker Scheme’ project. Port Stephens Council General Manager Wayne Wallis recognises the contribution the project has made to protect wildlife across our region.

“As the newly discovered species was found in our region in 2016, and placed on the threatened species list the following year — we had to do our part to protect them.

“As part of the project, we carried out a range of roadside surveys and data collection across the area which concluded in March 2020. “The findings have now been incorporated into our environmental management system and standard operating procedures to protect the threatened species.

“This work has also created a new amphibian roadside marker category for the existing Hunter Joint Organisation Regional Roadside Environment Marker Scheme used by other road authorities across the Hunter Region,” he said.

The project was assisted by the NSW Government’s Environmental Trust and supported by LGNSW through the Council Roadside Reserves Environmental Grant Program.

MORPH IT in Morpeth An exciting project, ‘Morph It’, will see public space unlocked in Morpeth through temporary street installations, artwork and a range of programs running until Sunday 29 November.

Morph It is proudly funded by the NSW Government in association with Maitland City Council, and Mayor Loretta Baker says ‘Morph It seeks to change the hierarchy of the streets in a way that’s complementary to the township’s unique character and history to increase visitation and social connection in Morpeth.

As part of the project, Green Street will receive a temporary painted road artwork between Swan Street and Elizabeth Street. Seating, street furniture and a marquee will be installed on Berkley Street between Swan and Close Street. Two unique temporary outdoor seating and dining areas have been built using shipping containers and will be installed on Swan Street.

A 150m dedicated walking and cycle path will be marked by creative road art to connect Swan Street to Queens Wharf, via Queens Wharf Road.

The project will feature an activation program that includes farmers markets, live music, antique discovery day, yard games and kids art activities. The programming will run from Friday to Sunday across the duration of the project. For more information on the Morph It project visit www.mymaitland.com.au/morph-it

Waste Avengers save Planet Earth! Cessnock City Council has launched the Waste Avengers Blog – designed for the superhero in all of us who wants to do their bit to avoid waste and save planet Earth!

It’s an online space where community members, organisations and businesses can share their own experiences, journeys, ideas and tips on waste avoidance.

Residents will hear from Council’s passionate Waste and Environment Team who will be making entries about what they do to avoid generating waste and some of the challenges they have faced in doing so.

“It’s critical we get people not only to recycle properly but to think about the way they create waste in their daily lives. This is the most effective way to address the copious amounts of waste produced across the globe,” says Council’s General Manager, Lotta Jackson.

“I consider myself a Waste Avenger. In my household, we don’t buy any single-use plastics. In fact, the decisions we make daily mean we only have to empty our general rubbish bin once a month.” Community members will be able to discuss the posts and connect with like-minded people in the online discussion board. Visit www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/waste-avengers

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