Thumbs up for council scheme to play it cool
CALL FOR MORE TREES AND BETTER PLANNING
“As a former childcare worker we used to make sure we had shade cloths, children were wearing hats and appropriate clothing, that they had access to drinking water and there were plenty of trees around to shield them from hot temperatures.
“I think it is especially important that schools and childcare centres have the right shading areas …”
Penrith Council voted to endorse the draft plan at its meeting last week.
The council’s senior sustainability planner Jen Guice said immediate action was under way to implement heat management strategies in the area.
“One of the projects we can start looking at is having council and the Department of Education working together to assess west-facing pedestrian areas around schools,” Ms Guice said.
“Key findings showed that the whole Penrith LGA experiences high temperatures. A heat mapping project also identified the five hottest areas, which included Cranebrook, Penrith CBD, Kingswood, St Marys and Glenmore Park.
“The report also highlighted the vulnerable groups in the community that suffer most from heat, which included young children and the elderly.”
Councillor Kevin Crameri said: “Certainly more could be done around these areas.
“I work at Wallacia Public School one day (a week) and the area around the school is much cooler because there are plenty of trees.
“If this is an issue at other schools then we need to start putting shelters around bus stops and shading.”
Ms Guice said suggested strategies included potential planning changes, developing community resources, planting more trees, investigating local water supplies, looking at reflective building materials and working with businesses and government departments.
The Australian Research Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science found new residential areas on the fringes of Sydney could see temperatures rise between 1.1 and 3.7 degrees.
St Marys resident Samantha Smith is enthusiastic about Penrith Council plans to cool the area by planting trees and taking a look at planning changes.