Hornsby Shire Council’s Water Sensitive Hornsby Strategy is currently on public exhibition until 30 October 2020. The Water Sensitive Hornsby Strategy is part of a suite of complementary strategies that sit under the umbrella of Sustainable Hornsby 2040.

‘The coordination and delivery of these strategies, all developed to map a pathway to meet the vision of our Local Strategic Planning Statement, is a significant milestone in shaping Hornsby’s future over the coming years,’ said Julie Ryland, Council’s Strategy Manager.

The Strategy adds Hornsby to the list of cities that have developed a water sensitive city strategy. This national spread of WSC strategies is evidence of the growing adoption of the water sensitive cities model to deliver reliable water supplies, resource-efficient sanitation, protection from environmental threats, healthy ecosystems, beautiful landscapes, new business opportunities, and cultural and recreational pursuits that help build community resilience.

That’s certainly what’s possible in Hornsby Shire, with its 50-year vision for a beautiful, green, and thriving shire whose management of water and the environment supports clean waterways, sustainable resource use, and a healthy lifestyle that is connected to nature.

What Hornsby is planning

The Strategy outlines a shared vision for a water sensitive Hornsby and the broad steps Hornsby Shire should now take to transition towards this future. The 50-year WSC vision encompasses six themes that define what the shire wants to achieve:

  1. Hornsby’s natural environments are healthy and thriving with biodiversity.
  2. Hornsby and its villages are full of beautiful blue and green spaces that connect people to their surrounding environment and local community.
  3. Hornsby Shire has engaged, empowered and active communities who value Aboriginal and multicultural connections to land and water.
  4. A strong focus on water management supports safe communities and healthy, clean rivers and creeks.
  5. Sustainable resource use is supported by integrated, multi-functional infrastructure.
  6. Integrated and inclusive governance arrangements deliver a holistic approach to water management while meeting the challenges of growth.

Since it takes integrated and inclusive governance arrangements to deliver a holistic approach to water management while meeting the challenges of growth, Hornsby Council is supporting the Water Sensitive Hornsby Strategy with other new and innovative strategies including the Urban Forest Strategy, Biodiversity Conservation, Waste Matters, Walking and Cycling, and Climate Wise.

How Hornsby achieved its strategy

The Water Sensitive Hornsby Strategy is the outcome of 10 months of research, analysis and engagement with 24 community champions and 34 leading thinkers from across water, planning, development and environment sections in Hornsby Shire Council, along with neighbouring Councils, Sydney Water and the Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment.

From the outset, Hornsby wanted to transition to a water sensitive city, using the progressive statutory planning controls and strategic direction outlined in the Greater Sydney Strategic Plan.

The council invited the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities to develop a water sensitive city vision and transition strategy for Hornsby Shire. The CRCWSC and its industry partner Alluvium Consulting applied the CRCWSC’s Transition Planning Process through a series of four workshops with stakeholders, plus held a parallel community visioning process involving three workshops with community participants.

‘While a mouthful to say, the Transition Dynamics Framework, was the perfect tool to link our vision with evidence gathered from workshopping to actions aimed at moving Hornsby Council along the pathway to a water sensitive future. For all participants, from Council staff to community members, the process identified a clear line of sight from where we currently sit, to where we want to be, and importantly, articulated the steps needed to start that journey,’ said David Beharrell, Council’s Operations Manager, Natural Resources.

What happens next

The Water Sensitive Hornsby Strategy has already received high praise from Council.

Hornsby Shire Council will use the strategy to help design and implement strategic and operational programs of action within Council, key agencies and community groups. The outcomes of this process will also inform the ongoing implementation of Hornsby Shire Council’s Local Strategic Planning Statement.

The Council intends to reassess the strategy in three to five years to determine the impact of implemented strategies and actions, and to identify new strategies and actions to continue to advance Hornsby’s water sensitive city transition. The CRCWSC is developing the tools and processes to assist with this monitoring and reassessment.

If you’d like to learn more about Hornby’s water story and its future vision, download the report here while it’s on public exhibition (until 30 October).

Sneak peek!

At the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities’ final conference, to be held in March 2021, we will present a session in which cities share their lessons about the ‘next steps’ once they have a WSC transition strategy in place. Stay tuned for conference details.

Last updated: 13th Oct 2020