Scout friendly and eco friendly

Tuesday, 02 February, 2010

The 22nd Australian Scout Jamboree was held 4-14 January 2010 at Cataract Scout Park in Appin, 71 km south-west of Sydney. Scouts from across Australia and 23 countries came together on 160 ha of land for the 10-day camp with a population of over 13,000 scouts, leaders and volunteers.

Over the past three years, the Jamboree Organising Committee (JOC) and Scouts NSW have increased measures to make Cataract Scout Park more eco friendly and sustainable.

“The size of this year’s Australian Scout Jamboree was bigger than the populations of Broome and Kiama, making it the 35th largest town in NSW, which really showed the need to invest in making the site as sustainable as possible,” states Bob Baker, Chief Director of the 22nd Australian Scout Jamboree.

Energy was conserved by the installation of PE cells on all street lighting circuits to ensure lights only operated when required. In preparation for the 10-day event, all transformers were fully serviced to ensure they would be operating at appropriate efficient capacity. In addition, cooking and water heating was supported by gas rather than timber fires.

Clean Event was brought on to ensure all waste was reduced, re-used and, where possible, recycled. Veolia was subcontracted to do much of the water treatment. Sewer waste was captured, treated and the effluent conveyed by gravity mains to take to farms on the boundary of the camping areas, pumped to a two-compartment oxidation pump. Shower waste was conveyed to a ‘soapy water’ dam.

Water-saving initiatives included waste recycling, water-saving showerheads and dual flush cisterns for the toilets. Water was also drawn from the dam and rainwater tanks that were installed on site. It has been estimated that at least 1.17 million litres of water has been saved, enough for 5000 people’s average daily consumption.

Cataract Scout Park also boasted a large fibre-optic network supported by equipment donated by Cisco, meaning a ‘paperless system’ could be introduced through high-speed intranet and internet. Minimising paper usage was the aim for the introduction of the network.

The scouts were transported in and out of the site by buses to minimise the amount of traffic and carbon emissions caused by cars. On-site transport was restricted to walking, cycling or golf carts to reduce pollution but also to ensure the safety of the children. When the scouts were off site doing activities around Sydney, the NSW Ministry of Transport allowed for free use of bus and trains.

“We worked extremely hard over the last three years to make Cataract Scout Park as eco friendly as possible. Having over 11,000 scouts on site was the biggest test of all. There will always be ways we can improve but the site now has the right foundations necessary to move on and upwards,” states Bob Baker.

“We are also in partnership with Wollondilly Shire Council and Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority to improve biodiversity management at Cataract Scout Park. The project aims to improve environmental outcomes by increasing biodiversity, improving water quality from the top of the catchment, increasing aquatic ecosystems, enhancing the koala habitat and preserving native vegetation. The ICON project is one that Scouts takes great pride in because we want to keep this environment intact for future generations of Scouts to enjoy,” Baker concluded.

The next Australian Scout Jamboree will be held in Maryborough, Queensland in 2013 before returning to Cataract Scout Park in 2016. In the meantime, the site will be used for other events in the scouting calendar for cubs, scouts, venturers, rovers and leaders.

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