South Coast Environment Centre to close its doors

CLOSING ITS DOORS: Part-time co-ordinator Gayl Males at the South Coast Environment Centre.
CLOSING ITS DOORS: Part-time co-ordinator Gayl Males at the South Coast Environment Centre.

The South Coast Environment Centre will close down in September, shutting its doors after nine years of operation.

The centre - which has been based in Coral Street for the last four years - has worked closely within the community to connect people with nature and conservation projects and promote sustainable living practices.

Its shop front has been a popular location to drop off recyclable items, utilise office facilities and resources, such as brochures and an extensive library and to purchase sustainability friendly items. Committee Chair and founding member Anita Leak said she was sad to announce the centre's impending closure.

"Following changes to funding previously given to run our operations, a once-off grant has been offered to allow all environment centres within the Hills and Fleurieu and Northern and Yorke Landscape SA Board regions to continue for 12 months whilst actively planning to become more financially independent from 2022/23," Ms Leak said.

"Our volunteer Management Committee considered long and hard all our possible options, but following good governance policies and procedures we have in place as an incorporated association, made the difficult decision that we could not fulfill all the requirements set out in that 12 month grant if we accepted it.

"With no other option to obtain external funding, we will wind down operations." Ms Leak said the committee and all volunteers involved with the South Coast Environment Centre would look back at its many contributions to the community.

"We've set up monthly veggie swap markets, wellbeing in nature walks to encourage people to enjoy nature in our beautiful part of the world; we were instrumental in helping create the Openlight Victor Harbor Community Garden; citizen science projects such as bandicoot monitoring and beach clean-ups, establishing, helping and supporting many local environment and bush care groups and school education activities," she said.

End of an era: The South Coast Environment Centre will close its doors in September, after nine years of operation. Photo: Supplied.

End of an era: The South Coast Environment Centre will close its doors in September, after nine years of operation. Photo: Supplied.

"Recycling and encouraging residents to be more involved with recycling has been a huge success and we're working with council to continue these many programs."

Another highlight has been the sponsorship of Kuti Shack (Goolwa) and Qahwa Café (Victor Harbor) for 12 months as part of a FRWA program to reduce food waste from landfill, with weekly pickups for a reasonable cost providing environmental benefits. Part-time co-ordinator Gayl Males said she was very proud of what the centre and committee had achieved and the many programs and activities that have been set up and will be encouraged to continue.

"We are incredibly proud to have worked with the local community and have put on a large number of public events and activities over the years, including free movie nights, presentations and talks on a wide variety of conservation, environment and sustainable living topics," Ms Males said.