Yesterday I attended the Randwick Eco-Living Fair, a one day event organised by Randwick City Council held at the new Community Centre and surrounding Environmental Park on Munda Street, Randwick.
After a slightly blustery, rainy morning threatened to scare people off the sun appeared and everyone came out in force. The event was a great way to showcase the council’s new facilities on the large site which include halls, exhibition spaces, playgrounds, large garden area and covered workshop spaces. These new facilities are located on former Defence Force lands which had been in use since WWI as Randwick Army Barracks. Parcels began to be redeveloped in the 1990’s with a large area protected as parklands as it functions as a haven for birdlife and some protected species of flora and fauna.
Randwick Council obviously knows that it is all very well to have whiz-bang new facilities but if no-one actually knows where they are and what they can be used for then there is no point right? Because I reside at the Clovelly end of Coogee I don’t get down that way often and I was very pleasantly surprised at the renewal and redevelopment that the area has experienced. New housing in terrace/townhouse style surrounds the centre on Bundock Street and surrounds.
The style and medium density format of the newer development fits well with the existing older housing in the suburb. There is also some really loving landscape elements (which the picture below doesn’t actually show well) but the inclusion of Australian natives, established trees and shrubs and ground covers made all the difference to my impression of the streetscape.
As I chatted to one of the organisers Ben Eadie from October Sun he explained that organising an event like this was like installing a mini semi-permanent city- you need infrastructure, waste, food, power, ATMs, shade, accessibility, first aid and seating as well as entertainment and traffic management. Hovering above all these needs is of course the need to make the event as sustainable and low impact as possible.
Clear and accessible waste management is key to reducing the clean-up and bump out at the end of the day. He also said that the rise of the food trucks helped along by City of Sydney has been a huge factor in reducing the events management headache. These vans operate self sufficiently by producing their own power, water, lighting and gas as well as BYOing their own serving utensils, cups and plates. They also look fantastic and contribute to the atmosphere of the event- my personal favourite is the ‘Nighthawk Diner’ pictured below housed in a vintage airstream caravan so shiny you can check your teeth for cheeseburger after your meal!
Although there was plenty to do for adults I felt like a real focus of the event was kids and kids environmental education, particularly introducing them to insects and bug life through a show by INSECTUS the insect man and to lizards and reptiles as well as a brilliant show about water and its importance. Little giggles and squeals of delight from the audience abounded as a giant book opened to reveal a hand painted backdrop for the show. And all for free- I can imagine my glee if I was a parent in Sydney finding such a high calibre of educational entertainment for FREE! And outside in a beautiful setting.
There was also a great range of stores selling local produce and home and garden products to up your green factor. Amongst all this there were roaming representatives from Council’s various environmental initiatives interviewing people from the community to get their feedback on various environmental projects including the controversial environmental levy.
I’m hoping as the success and popularity of events such as these becomes clear more councils will adopt some of the strategies and techniques displayed by Randwick. Sometimes promoting sustainability is as simple as getting people outside into the sunshine to eat fresh local foods and lie on the grass while the kids zip around having the time of their lives!
Til next time,