With the help of the Ballina Council, the Ballina Jockey Club is putting environmental sustainability at the top of its list of business practises and is hoping it will be a model for other jockey clubs and sporting organisations in country New South Wales.
A Director of the Ballina Jockey Club, Robert Pitt, said the club is working with the Ballina Council as part of its Sustainable Urban Business Project.
“The council, through the Sustainable Urban Business Project, has helped us identify substantial long-term cost savings to our operation, which in turn will also improve our environmental credentials.
“We believe we will be able to reduce our water consumption by up to 75% by harvesting our roof water and eventually we plan to take some stormwater runoff and filter it in an artificially constructed wetland in the middle of the course and then re-use that water in the stables and on the grounds, including the racetrack.”
This will also improve the quality of water discharging into the river.
The Sustainable Urban Business Project also highlighted where they can make financial savings with their electricity bill.
By modifying the operation of their hot water service and air-conditioning units to make them more energy-efficient, they are expecting to see large reductions in their electricity bill, which totalled almost $10,000 for the December quarter.
“Our target is to reduce electricity consumption by 50%,” Mr Pitt said. “We have an obligation to do our best to reduce our impact on the environment, and I am confident we are playing our part.” he continued.
Kerri Watts, Senior Environmental Health Officer at the Ballina Shire Council, said the Jockey Club was a great example of what can be achieved through some simple changes to operations.
“The Sustainable Urban Business Project, which is funded by the NSW Environment Trust, and in partnership with Lismore City and Richmond Valley Council’s is about educating businesses about the environment and sustainability, assessing businesses’ energy use and encouraging and promoting better environmental practices.” Ms Watts said.
Eight businesses in Lennox Head have also taken up the challenge to improve their environmental performance.
Lennox Head Dental, the Headlands Beach Resort, Lennox Lodge, Santa Fe Motel, Lennox Head Physiotherapy Centre, the Lennox Head Markets, Knockrow Castle, Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park and Vital Beauty have set themselves the challenge of trying to operate in a more environmentally responsible way.
“It’s great to see how these businesses are striving to operate in an environmentally sustainable way,” Ms Watts said. “We’re focussing on their water and electricity bills as well as a decrease in the amount of rubbish that goes into the wheelie bins each week.” she said.