The Environmental Award was introduced to encourage parks to implement an environmental initiative, whether big or small, and to showcase some of those initiatives already being implemented around the state. Townsville Eco Resort (formally Bush Oasis Caravan Park) has implemented a wide range of initiatives:
Townsville Eco Resort aims to inspire environmentally sustainable tourism practices.
To achieve this they have received a 3 star rating with CCIQ Ecobiz for energy, waste and water, in addition to Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation.
The park manages all sewage waste onsite to a high standard so that, once processed, it can be fed into their wetland providing aesthetic views, habitat protection and the ability to re-use and recycle water for gardens and offset to local farmers.
Green waste collection and mulching onsite ensures gardens are supplied with adequate mulch to reduce water evaporation and ensures no green waste to landfill.
Solar PV and battery backup has been installed to support resilience in the event of a natural disaster such as the floods that went through Townsville a couple of years ago, and to reduce their footprint.
Their water is supplied by a bore that is purified by a reverse osmosis and feed through to all facilities ensuring clean fresh water without need for inline filters.
Care has been taken in regards to planting to ensure vulnerable and protected local plant species are introduced where available including the Mt Stuart Ironbark planting which is considered vulnerable under the Environment Protection Act.
The initiative was initially introduced to reduce overheads, lower emissions and to remain resilient with the weather events that occur in North Queensland. It was also intended that these business decisions would reduce their perceived level of risk and drive their insurance premium down.
It soon became apparent the added value these initiatives it would bring to their business, particularly in terms of marketing to those looking for sustainable travel options.
These changes have also seen expenses reduce…
Having their water supply and waste management means they are not required to pay the toilet tax which saves over 64 thousand annually.
The reduction in electricity use, now offset with solar, is offering savings of over 12 thousand a year.
There has been a reduction in the use of bore water for gardens saving around 30,000L per day.
The park is also saving around 5 thousand a year in land fill and mulch, along with the associated transport costs.
Some of the non-financial benefits include the fact that their environment and storm water management plans ensures there is no harmful runoff to the Great Barrier Reef, which benefits local community and allows recycled water to be shared with local farmers when available.
There has also been an increase in birdlife and native flora at the park which is appreciated by guests at the park.
This is a fantastic example of how taking a holistic view of the environmental footprint of your business and making numerous small changes can make a significant difference over time.
CPAQ RAY FITTON AWARD FOR INNOVATION & Environmental Award
These award recognises a park operator that has recently introduced an innovation within their business, which could also be used in other parks. Whilst the Environmental Award recognises outstanding initiatives that support best practice of the environment and sustainability.
Townsville Eco Resort (formally Bush Oasis Caravan Park) have constructed a Wetland Wastewater Recycling and Habitat Protection wetland.
This constructed wetland was introduced to conserve water use and recycle it to park gardens to ensure sediment and water run off that enters the Great Barrier from their park is of minimal impact. Treated water from their onsite sewage facility is gravity fed to the constructed wetland which continues to treat the water giving the park the ability to recycle the water into their gardens via irrigation.
This innovation has increased the amount of wildlife to the park and assisted in the protection of endangered species. It gives the park the ability to recycle treated wastewater to gardens and provide additional water to local farmers when it is in excess. This has reduced the amount of water pumped from their bore daily. It has reduced the risk of soil erosion and the impact of floods, fire and storms with increased water storage capacity.
The constructed wetland has also created and supported natural biodiversity – this provides an aesthetic view for guests wishing to engage in a nature experience.
Townsville Eco Resort (formally Bush Oasis Caravan Park) are now advertised by Townsville City Council Green Destinations program as an Eco Tourism Accommodation provider, they have received bookings from Biodiversity Queensland and Townsville Council for educational workshops which will create an additional revenue stream when the parks events centre is complete.
The judges noted that while this is not necessarily a new concept, they really liked the environmental benefits behind the idea, and the sense of giving back habitat to the environment while creating a unique attraction for guests.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the park has also been able to demonstrate economic benefit and appealing to the growing eco-tourist traveller.
Finally, the fact that the project also built flood resilience, this is also a huge benefit to the ongoing operation of the park considering current and projected weather patterns.
This certainly has been a huge project for park owners, Fiona and Martin Lidgett, and it is a worthy winner of the innovation award.