Sydney councils and businesses unite to tackle resilience

Experts from Greater Sydney’s 41 councils have joined forces with business and community groups to begin work on the city’s Resilient Cities program, as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, a group of global cities developing climate change-resilient communities.

The agenda setting workshop held today (Thursday) is expected to set objectives for Sydney’s participation in the program in order to progress solutions to extreme weather events, such as April’s heavy storm and hail event, as well as issues such as housing affordability.

Lord Mayor and chair of Sydney Metropolitan Mayors Clover Moore said the meeting was about ensuring Sydney could cope with events like the April flood or Victoria’s extreme heatwave in 2009.

“We have never had general managers and other senior representatives from all Sydney councils come together before, which makes this event especially significant,” Ms Moore said.

“We showed in the storms earlier this year how we could help each other, sharing trucks and resources, and we would like to continue that cooperation to prepare for future significant events.

“Like many other cities, we face the challenges of a fast-moving future from population rise and advances in technology. By opening a dialogue with experts from coastal, rural and metro councils we can take a coordinated approach to meeting these challenges head-on.”

Parramatta Lord Mayor Scott Lloyd said a cooperative approach and information sharing allowed for better planning to address future challenges.

“Planning to create a resilient future is not just about the Sydney or Parramatta CBDs, it’s about taking a holistic approach and engaging councils across the wider metropolitan area,” Mr Lloyd said.

President of 100 Resilient Cities Michael Berkowitz said the workshop would clarify the city’s needs and encourage innovative thinking.

“Sydney is helping fuel global momentum around building urban resilience, and leading by example,” Mr Berkowitz said.

“This workshop will give us a blueprint for engaging partners from across sectors to bring Sydney the tools and resources needed to become more resilient.

“A resilient city has a diverse economy and takes care of its built and natural infrastructure. It has effective leadership, empowered stakeholders, and an integrated planning system. All of those things are essential for a resilient city.”

As part of the program, Sydney is receiving funding from the Rockefeller Foundation to hire a chief resilience officer (the equivalent of Melbourne’s Toby Kent) to lead the development of a Sydney Resilience Strategy. Applications for the position have now closed and the successful applicant is to be announced in the next few months.

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