LEADING CHANGE IN AUSTRALIA: Can Money Really Grow On Trees? Increased Tree Canopy Boosts Sydney Property Values

The value a city derives from its urban trees is difficult to measure due to the disconnect between the beneficiaries and the direct costs borne by the councils, utilities and road authorities who manage them. “Our report found that without sufficient ‘green infrastructure’ Sydney would be hotter, more polluted and could be worth $50 billion less," stated James Rosenwax, report co-author.

Showcasing the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative at UBCM 2016: A Focus on the Town of Gibsons

An innovative approach to valuing a community’s natural assets promises to reduce service delivery costs while increasing other public benefits. Councillor Jeremy Valeriote described how Gibsons is finding that their intact watershed, with its ponds, streams and deep aquifer, are immensely valuable as part of their drinking water and storm water management systems. Protecting the natural foreshore along their portion of the Salish Sea provides a natural barrier from the ocean, protecting homes and property.

“Recognise green infrastructure as we do grey infrastructure, so it is properly considered as an asset,” said Shahana McKenzie, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

Green infrastructure asset recognition issue is aimed at having green infrastructure formally recognised by Treasury as an asset class. According to Shahana McKenzie, "The big issue regarding funding green infrastructure is really about the source of the money and whether you can depreciate for an asset's replacement or not. In local government there are a number of instances where landscape works are not able to be capitalised."

What Emanuel Machado, Town of Gibsons Chief Administrative Officer, learned at the “2015 World Forum on Natural Capital”……

At the World Forum held in Scotland last November, Emanuel Machado shared the story of the Town of Gibsons Eco-Asset Strategy with an international audience. “After two exciting days, I walked away with a sense that we in Canada, and BC in particular, are heading in the right direction and, perhaps, even leading in some ways. In terms of how best to address natural capital in the context of cities and urban areas, Canada is ahead of the game.”

Salmon-Safe BC promotes understanding and protection of the land-water connection

“Salmon-Safe is now active across the entire Pacific Northwest region with more than 38,000 hectares of urban and agricultural land certified from Northern California to British Columbia. Following introduction to BC in 2011, Salmon-Safe has certified more than 45 agricultural properties and recently in 2015 certified the first urban site in BC – the Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) Head Office in Vancouver,” stated Naomi Robert.

Australian research shows that neighbourhood greenery has a positive influence on the value of a property

"If Australians are obsessed with property prices, they should welcome investment in green infrastructure, because it is unambiguously good for their real estate values. Consensus among Australia's leading urban green space experts from the private, government and academic sectors suggests that neighbourhood greenery has a positive influence on the value of a property, and research is beginning to back that up," wrote James Dunn.

Australian “Green Infrastructure Economic Framework” puts a dollar value on green infrastructure

"If we make a certain investment, what are the long-term non-financial, social returns we can get from that? We're thinking about this as an economy, and the framework is a way to try to put a dollar value on the things that can come with green infrastructure – because its role and value has not been well understood in Australia, certainly when compared to more established 'grey' infrastructure," said Professor Roger Jones.

“Green Surrey Program” adopted by Surrey City Council in May 2014

The "Green Surrey" program is a key piece in the environmental pillar of the City of Surrey's Sustainability Charter. A strong environmental vision is central to the development of the City of Surrey, and the Green Surrey program is an evolution of the City’s commitment. "Strengthening and expanding our green infrastructure is crucial to maintaining Surrey's status as one of Canada's most liveable cities. We wanted to bring it all together under one umbrella," said Bruce Hayne.