What is a ‘liveable city’?

    In relation to urban heat, liveability is about human comfort and amenity. This depends on environmental factors such as air temperature, air quality, humidity, air movement, radiation, the amount of green cover and shade.

    How do these strategies address liveability?

    The Urban Heat Strategy identifies the suburbs most vulnerable to urban heat. This is based on exposure, vulnerable populations (young and old) and persons needing care. This work has been used to inform greening actions in the draft Urban Greening Strategy. Actions in the Urban Greening Strategy will target suburbs identified as most vulnerable to urban heat and areas with low tree canopy cover.

    Which suburbs are most impacted by extreme heat in Lake Macquarie City?

    To understand our exposure to extreme heat, a baseline assessment was undertaken to understand the historic and current thermal comfort conditions experienced across the City. Urban areas were identified as having high exposure to extreme heat, mainly due to increased impervious cover and higher dwelling density. These areas are:

    • Argenton
    • Belmont / Belmont North
    • Bonnells Bay
    • Cameron Park
    • Cardiff / Glendale
    • Charlestown
    • Macquarie Hills
    • Morisset
    • Swansea / Caves Beach
    • Toronto
    • Warners Bay

    What is the difference between the Urban Greening Strategy and Urban Heat Strategy?

    Both strategies share objectives and targets to increase the amount of green cover and vegetation, whilst improving and maintain liveability in Lake Macquarie. View the diagram below to see the objectives of each strategy and how they relate to each other.


Urban Heat Strategy FAQs

    Why do we need an Urban Heat Strategy?

    Urban heat and heatwaves are a significant and growing issue for Lake Macquarie. More Australians lose their lives from extreme heat events than any other natural disaster. Extreme heat events can also have additional impacts on health and wellbeing, and result in disruption to transport, utilities and other services.

    Our Community Strategic Plan 2017-2027, Local Strategic Planning Statement and Environmental Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2027 all identify urban heat as an issue Council needs to address. 

    What will the Urban Heat Strategy do?

    The draft Urban Heat Strategy aims to guide Council and the community to take local, practical and coordinated action to address urban heat and make our communities in Lake Macquarie cool, liveable and resilient. The draft Urban Heat Strategy identifies five objectives and an action plan with 25 actions to address urban heat over the short term (1 2 years) and medium term (3-5 years). Some of the key actions involve:

    • green wall and green roof pilot projects
    • investigating options to include heat considerations in local planning provisions
    • community awareness campaigns.

    How was the draft Urban Heat Strategy developed?

    To help understand how urban heat impacts Lake Macquarie, Council engaged specialist consultant AECOM in 2020 to provide a detailed assessment of current and emerging urban heat impacts. This work was compiled into two reports:

    • Baseline Thermal Assessment, Thermal performance of Lake Macquarie Local Government Area, Lake Macquarie City Council, 18 August 2020
    • Adaptation Options Assessment Report, available responses to extreme heat challenges for Lake Macquarie City Council, August 2020.

    These reports are included as background documents on this website.

    The research carried out by AECOM demonstrated that our densely populated urban areas are already experiencing the urban heat island effect. Fourteen suburbs were identified as having temperatures greater than 9oC above the baseline temperature (measured during the summer of 2015-2016). 

    The research found the impacts of the urban heat island effect and extreme heat are dependent on our ability to adapt. Certain sections of the community are more vulnerable to urban heat, such as less mobile people, outdoor workers and low-income households.

    The research also found that climate change is expected to increase the number of extreme events including longer, hotter and more intense heatwaves. The Lake Macquarie region currently experiences an average of 12 days per year over 35°C. By 2030, Lake Macquarie is expected to experience an additional five days per year over 35°C and up to 15 additional days by 2090 (total of 17 days and 27 days for 2030 and 2090 respectively). 

Urban Greening FAQs

    What is Urban Greening?

    Urban greening is about strategically increasing the quality and quantity of all vegetation and open green space on all land types in an urban setting. A component of this is the ‘urban forest’, the sum of all of the trees, plants and greenery across all land types.

    Cities across Australia and elsewhere are measuring the health, diversity and extent of their urban forests, setting targets and realigning their operational programs to work towards improving greening cover. The amount and type of green cover across the urban landscape is a large contributor to the high level of liveability of our City. 

    What is the Urban Greening Strategy?

    The draft Urban Greening Strategy guides the strategic delivery of green infrastructure, and informs improvements to economic centres and suburbs to reduce urban heat and improve the amenity of public land. The draft strategy also provides strategic direction for, and encourages investment in, urban greening on private land.

    Why do we need an Urban Greening Strategy?

    Urban trees in particular play a critical role in creating healthy cities. They provide shade and shelter (especially along walking and cycling pathways), improve air quality, absorb carbon and rainfall, reduce peak stormwater flow volumes and improve water quality flowing to the Lake, cool local environments, and through increasing habitat and corridor connections, support increased biodiversity and wildlife. 

    Trees and other plants contribute to the amenity of urban places, providing seasonal variation and creating memorable landmarks (significant trees). Our City’s urban forest performs a critical function, and provides a wide range of benefits including economic, health and well-being. It mitigates urban heat effects, making our City more liveable and resilient.

    What is green infrastructure?

    Green Infrastructure is the network of green spaces, natural systems and semi-natural systems including parks, rivers, bushland and private gardens that are strategically planned, designed and managed to support a good quality of life in an urban environment.

    Green infrastructure should be thought of as the landscape element that surrounds and connects buildings, streets and utilities. Components of green infrastructure include:

    1. Green roofs and walls including roof gardens and living walls.
    2. Private and semi-private residential gardens including shared spaces around apartment buildings, backyards, balconies, roof gardens and community gardens.
    3. Squares and plazas including both public and private courtyards and forecourts.
    4. Public residential and other tree lined streets, including road verges.
    5. Parks and gardens including regional parks, well-designed urban parks, open space reserves and formal gardens.
    6. Greenways including river and creek corridors, cycleways and routes along major transport (road, rail and light rail) corridors.
    7. Sports and recreational facilities including ovals, school and other institutional playing fields, and other major parks and golf courses.
    8. Natural green space including national parks and nature reserves, waterways, wetlands and coastal margins.
    9. Agricultural and other productive land and farms including vineyards, market gardens, orchards.

    Does the draft strategy include greening on both public and private land?

    Yes. The draft strategy on public exhibition will inform decisions and investment made in relation to planning, management, and maintenance of green infrastructure on public and private land in urban areas.

    What consultation took place to develop the draft strategy?

    Community consultation was undertaken in 2021 to develop the draft strategy, including awareness raising through Shape Lake Mac, intercept surveys and face-to-face meetings and workshops with internal staff. Key themes of the feedback received from the community included the need for more trees and tree-lined streets, planting more native species to support corridor connectivity and provide habitat for wildlife, and the importance greening has for community wellbeing.

    Read the community engagement summary report

Make a submission

    How do I make a submission?

    A formal submission must be in writing and sent via one of the following channels:

    • via the online form on this website
    • via email to [email protected] with the subject heading 'Cooling Lake Mac'
    • via post to ATT: Peter Nichols, Lake Macquarie City Council, Box 1906, Hunter Region Mail Centre, NSW 2310.

    Where can I see a hard copy of the strategies?

    If you require a hard copy of the strategies, please call Council on 4921 0333 or email [email protected] with your mailing address. We will arrange a copy to be sent to you as soon as possible.

    What should I put in a submission?

    Your submission can be as concise or as long as you wish:

    • Please be clear about which draft strategy you are referring to in your submission. 
    • If you are commenting on more than one strategy, please make this clear in your submission.
    • Please make your comments detailed and specific so that we can take it to Council to make an informed decision.

    Can I make more than one submission?

    Should multiple submissions be received from a single resident regarding this project, the feedback will be reviewed by staff and counted as one submission when reporting back to the Councillors. 

    We recommend that all residents include all relevant feedback in a single submission.

    I’ve put in a submission - what happens next?

    Your feedback may result in further changes being made to the draft strategies prior to a report being prepared for Councillors.

    You will be notified again, prior to Council considering the matter, which will include a link to the Council report containing a summary of submissions and how feedback was considered.

    At the Council meeting, the Councillors will review the formal submissions and concerns raised. They may either adopt the final proposed strategies or ask for further amendments based on community feedback. The date of the Council meeting is yet to be confirmed.

    What is the draft Tree Management on Public Land Policy?

    The purpose of the draft Tree Management on Public Land Policy is to identify Council’s responsibilities and define appropriate methodologies, in accordance with industry best practice regarding the management of trees growing on or arising principally from public land.

    Its objective is to ensure trees located on public land are suitably maintained and managed with available resources.

    The draft policy is currently on public exhibition for feedback until the 26 April 2022.