In 2005, the Centre for Sustainable Arid Towns produced the first Roadmap to a desertSMART Town. Written to complement a second key sustainability oriented document, 70 Actions to Make Alice Springs a desertSMART Town, the Roadmap was Alice Springs’ first community driven sustainability plan. ALEC, Desert Knowledge Australia, COOLmob and the NT Government were key partners in producing the document.
desertSMART COOLmob wrote an Evaluation of the Roadmap in early 2013, outlining key recommendations for future documents of this type as well as the many successes of this high profile document.
These recommendations have informed the development of the new Roadmap to a desertSMART Town (2013 – 2018).
The Evaluation was launched on the 12th of March 2013 at the Chifley Alice Springs Resort. Ella McHenry gave a presentation about the results of the Evaluation to attendees of the launch. Former Arid Lands Environment Centre Coordinator Glenn Marshall and Desert Knowledge Australia’s Mike Crowe also spoke, giving further background on the importance and origins of the Roadmap concept.
Greatest progress against the goals of the Roadmap has been made in the areas of energy and water. Small audit programs run by COOLmob fed into the more extensive and high impact programs of Alice Solar City and Alice Water Smart. Building retrofits, subsidies for PV installations, advice and incentives to businesses around energy and water efficiency and infrastructure improvements such as the co-generation facility currently under construction at the Alice Springs Hospital were all identified in the Roadmap long before they were incorporated into the programs of the Alice Solar City, Alice Water Smart and the NT Government. Some progress has been made in the areas of built environment and waste although the lack of an ongoing program to progress initiatives in these areas had an obvious impact.
The key lesson of the Evaluation is that developing a community vision can be a very potent way to affect change in the community. A vision enables key thinkers and decision makers to come together and talk about what sort of a future they want to create. It also demonstrates community support for key projects, initiatives and concepts to governments and funders in a powerful and tangible way.
The Roadmap to a desertSMART Town 2005 Evaluation can be downloaded here.
A summary of which recommendations have been completed from the original 70 Actions to Make Alice Springs a desertSMART Town can be downloaded here.