The four councils of the SHOROC region have begun working on a new strategy to improve the sustainability of the region of the Northern Beaches, from Bradleys Head to Barrenjoey.

“We live in a beautiful region and our residents and councils place a high value on our natural environment and acting sustainably in the way we live and work”, said SHOROC President and Mayor of Mosman Anne Connon.

“This new strategy is about Mosman, Manly, Warringah and Pittwater Councils working together to build on the huge range of work we already do, looking regionally for opportunities to take collaborative action to maintain and enhance our region’s sustainability and way of life.”

“We are looking at current and planned council projects, as well as the potential for regional opportunities to create more sustainable communities, with a focus on areas such as transport, health and wellbeing, resource management and the natural environment”, said Cr Connon.

Another element of this project is the development of ‘health of the region’ indicators to help us track how our strategies to improve our region’s way of life and sustainability are progressing. They will be grouped under themes such as community wellbeing, resource management, employment and natural environment.

This work contributes to the ‘Shaping Our Future’ regional strategy and is funded through a grant from the NSW Government’s Environment Trust.

“Councils and SHOROC welcome ideas from the community. If any residents would like to propose a project for consideration for inclusion in the strategy, please contact SHOROC via our website”, concluded Mayor Connon.

Suggestions can be made via the comments box below, or via email to

  • Acpaduch

    Hi, I’d like to take up your invitation to make suggestions for your sustainability strategy:

    1) Introduce “Sustainability Street” (as practised by Randwick Council)
    2) Negotiate discounts with local providers for solar panels/hot water and rainwater tanks for residents
    3) Further support for sustainable residents from Council, e.g. reduced council rates or grants for converting to solar panels/rainwater tanks
    4) Improved Public Transport – develop action plan to lobby state government for better public transport, e.g. more ferries from different wharfs, e.g. Clontarf – City + better bus lanes and light rail/train (I know I’m dreaming).

    • SHOROC

      Thanks for your suggestions – they’ll be considered as we work together with Manly, Mosman, Pittwater and Warringah councils to improve the sustainability of our region.
      Regarding your last suggestion – better public transport – the SHOROC councils have developed a draft regional strategy that, if adopted by all councils, will be used to lobby for better public transport. It’s called Shaping Our Future and you’ll find the details on this website under the ‘featured articles’ to the right of this page.

  • Eve

    Some Suggestions to add to all good things already going on:

    School and community F&V gardens: supporting schools to maintain and expand or even start school gardens to learn about healthy foods and sustainable living. This includes composting and organic gardening.It is hard for schools to run this on their own and they require further community and practical support.

    Compulsory recycling of paper, plastics, glass and organic materials by all businesses and schools in the area. As local council does not collect waste from schools, hospitals and businesses they often do not pay to have it dealt with sustainably.

    Compulsory rain water tanks for all organisations/services /businesses with over a certain amount of peopl eg. above household size. Less of a need to rely on desalination plants or recycled water then.

    Drink fountains provided in public areas and services so plastic cups and bottled water can be phased out. Tap water is better for people due to its flouride content anyway.

    Electricity monitoring devices provided to homes and businesses so they can become aware of it’s use.

    Businesses encouraged to use less environmentally unfriendly packaging for products and more sustainable and non-plastic packaging eg. coffee cup alternatives. This may then help with cleaner waterways and less plastics being ingested by wildlife/marine life and entering our food chain.

    Cleaner and better treated sewerage and storm water so it is not polluting our beach/ ocean areas.

    Sustainable and reliable transport options.

    Goodluck and keep up the good work!

    • SHOROC

      Thanks for your suggestions and positive feedback! We’re currently in the early stages and will put them in the mix as we work together with Manly, Mosman, Pittwater and Warringah councils to improve the sustainability of our region.
      As per the earlier post regarding the sustainable and reliable transport options, the SHOROC councils have developed a draft regional strategy that, if adopted by all councils, will be used to lobby for better public transport. It’s called Shaping Our Future and you’ll find the details on this website under the ‘featured articles’ to the right of this page.

  • Ali

    We need to instigate a Public Awareness Campaign regarding the damaging effects on health from the use of wood fires. We have been alarmed at the levels of wood smoke and pollution in the air this winter which hangs over the peninsula and the Northern Beaches. Some of us are being ‘blasted’ by smoke on a regular basis. Increased use of wood fires is being blamed on spiralling electricity prices, but wood burning is a backward step. There are cheaper, cleaner, safer options. (see email to SHOROC).
    Concerned Newport residents.


      I agree with Ali and would add that we also need to remind the users of wood burning heaters that they are not just polluting their neighbours and the surrounding streets with their smoke but that they are also polluting their own indoor air.This is especially so on those very cold, still nights so common in winter.

      All wodburning fires or heaters need air to burn. Most draw that air from inside the house and this must be replaced with air leaked in from the outside. This air is heavily polluted with their own smoke. Worse still that air contains the most damaging microfine particles (PM10 and PM2.5) plus the suite of nasty chemicals (VOH, PAH and Dioxins) all of which can trigger asthma, bronchitis or pneumonia or contribute to long term lung damaging conditions such as emphysema or cancer

      It has been calculated that a wood fire burning 2kg per hour of dry wood requires about 8 cubic metres per hour of air to sustain combustion. Thats a lot of air and it will bring in alot of microfines and organic aerosol particulates.

      We as a community must work towards eliminating this major source of air pollution in urban areas

      Bill Thomson



    Air pollution from the smoke generated by wood burning heaters is an increasing problem in Sydney.

    The EPA (now DECCW) tells us hat more than 60% of Sydney’s fine particulate air pollution (PM10 and PM2.5) is produced by wood burning home heaters during the winter months.

    Accumulated scientific and clinical evidence over the past 20 years points to acute and chronic lung disorders, caused by the microfine particles generated by wood burning heaters, that are disturbingly similar to those caused by tobacco smoke.

    Woodsmoke also contains a suite of nasty chemicals such as PAHs, VOHs and Dioxins that can ride on the back of the microfine particulates and penetrate deep into lung tissue. These chemicals are implicated in lung disorders such as asthma, pneumonia, emphysema and cancer.

    Launceston and Christchurch suffer from such serious pollution from woodsmoke that they are engaging in schemes that financialy reward home owners who switch to gas or heat pumps.

    Waverly and Holroyd Councils have already banned the instalation of new wood burning heaters in their areas.

    To achieve improvements in ur winter air quality and to sutain this into the future SHOROC wwould do well to ban the installation of any new wood burning heaters immediately and to work on a phased elimination of all existing fires.

    Please remember that IF YOU CAN SMELL IT , ITS DOING YOU HARM.

    The latest slow combustion wood heaters still produce substantial quantities of the dangerous microfine particles evn though they emit very little visible smoke. Even those that comply with AS 4013 and AS2918. Recent New Zealand research has found that new approved model did not produce significantly less micriofines the much older appliances.

    William Thomson
    (member CASANZ)

    • SHOROC

      Thanks for your comment as well as that provided by Ali earlier. We’re currently in the early stages and will put them in the mix as we work together with Manly, Mosman, Pittwater and Warringah councils to improve the sustainability of our region.
      Feel free to provide any further stats or studies regarding your suggestion – you can also email us at if thats easier.

  • Ali

    As stated in email to SHOROC: Residents on the northern beaches peninsula have been VERY concerned about the significantly increased levels/volume of wood smoke experienced in our area this winter, at times it has been literally suffocating.

    It seems an increasing number of persons are turning to wood fires as an alternative source of heating as a result of spiralling electricity prices. It has wreaked havoc for many of us who are being exposed to almost ongoing blasting or infusion of neighbour’s wood smoke and fumes into our homes.

    We have reported the problem to Pittwater Council, and to Rob Stokes and DECCW. In my immediate locality we have been forced to breath in smoke and unpleasant fumes and odour, almost around the clock, for almost four months now. It has adversely affected our health and resulted in numerous visits to doctors.

    The message needs to get out to the public that wood smoke is injurious to health and is NOT a good alternative to electrical heaters. Cheaper and greener alternatives include; reverse cycle air conditioning, gas fires, solar panels, and warmer clothes. The gradual phasing out and ultimate banning of wood fires in urban areas would be a positive step towards sustainability and reduced costs to the health system.

    Alison and David.

    We would like to see a public awareness education campaign instigated so we may all breathe clean air over winter.

    Should you require any further information please let us know. We are more than happy to do whatever we can to eradicate this problem and improve our air quality.


    Alison Harvey,

    David Butler

  • Avalon_Beach

    Nice job on the Shaping Our Future. At first read it seems sensible and practical. Will you be producing a nice glossy version with nice pictures and maps that will be a hard copy for us all? Did you do any studies to produce this, or was this just a wish list from the Councils?

    1. Public Transport should be No.1 priority … but why do only seek buses? They are slow and get caught in traffic, or blocked by choked intersections even if on their own red road. Look around the world and you see Cities embracing Light Rail and other Rail Systems for the trunk routes, with Buses feeding them. This is clearly the way of the future. So why don’t we embrace this? Why don’t you propose a trunk Heavy/Metro/Light Rail route? If you agree – which would you choose – to City, or to Chatswood? Why? Also what about better Ferry routes? I’d love to be able to catch a Ferry to Balmoral Beach or to Watson’s Bay from Manly for a day out with my Family, instead of having to drive.

    2a. We need to take action on Climate Change. Looking down on the nearby inlet, my family and I can see this threatened by storms and surges, not just sea level rise. And then there is Narrabeen – a sand spit – that would be very vulnerable. Have you identified the areas in our region that are vulnerable? Have you got any recommendations of how to deal with this in the long term? What if there was a worse storm than the other weekend, and it undermined all the buildings along Narrabeen Beach? Should these buildings be demolished, or should we lose the beach?

    2b. How can we as a region move to the “Low Carbon” future you hear being talked about on the Science Show, Catalyst, and in the media? If we are to avoid any additional emissions, then every building built in our area from now on needs to be zero carbon – yes? That at the moment is impossible, therefore, how do we have a thorough understanding of how we all reduce our emissions, and how do we build houses and buildings that produce very little carbon? Can all Councils group together and build a wind farm for our area? Could they construct some of those wave energy machines? Could you organise a discount/mass purchase of solar cells for roofs?

    3. We live here because of the nature – the beach and bush, the birds and sea air. But there is one thing where I and my family must say shame on you Councils – why is your planning and design so terrible, producing ugly places? Why don’t we have beautiful places to enjoy that are urban? Why do we have to travel overseas to visit interesting places in a city (Asia, South America, and I guess I have to name Europe…), when there are none in our region? (and not that many in the rest of Sydney). For example, why is there only a tiny section of Dee Why Beach front that is nice, and the park behind and the street behind that ugly? I don’t see anything in your strategy about this.

    4. I agree with the Hospital. Why not try and get it built as a Public/Private Venture, where there is a Private Hospital built next door that helps fund the Public Hospital? And what services and facilities would remain at Mona Vale and Manly? How is this decided with our aging population?

    I will think some more, discuss with family and friends and maybe post some more here.

    • SHOROC

      Dear Avalon_Beach

      Thanks for your comments.

      Some specific comments on your thoughts:
      1. In regard to the draft Shaping Our Future, absolutely public transport it is a No 1 priority. Bus Rapid Transit was selected as according to our transport advisors it is much more affordable and practical for our area than light or heavy, meaning there’s a much better chance we will see it constructed. The aim, especially for the East West is to have this system constructed in a way that is adaptable to light rail or other greater capacity transport in future years as needed. Re 4. Great idea.

      2-3. These are the kinds of issues that we want to seek to address in the regional sustainability and liveability strategies, the next two parts of Shaping Our Future. For example Councils are currently working together on the best way we can adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. Your comments will be taken on board and considered as we develop these strategies.

      Happy to hear further thoughts. Feel free to provide any further stats or studies regarding your suggestions – you can also email us at if that’s easier.

  • Clareville

    What kind of testing is done on our waters for pollution, etc? In particular Pittwater?

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