An innovative partnership between Port of Brisbane and Ocean Crusaders - a local environment not-for-profit organisation - has been given a major boost, receiving $40,000 in funding from IFM Investors through its 2020 Community Grants Program.
The grant will help fund the development of a Solar Powered Automatic River Cleaner (SPARC) unit - the first of its kind deployed in Queensland - to capture and remove debris that comes down the Brisbane River, before it flows out to Moreton Bay.
The Brisbane International Cruise Terminal seawall at Luggage Point will be the test site for the new unit.
PBPL CEO, Roy Cummins, thanked IFM Investors and said the grant would provide funding to establish the project and undertake regular litter audits, which will inform the success of the SPARC unit trial.
“Together with Ocean Crusaders, we’ve identified an opportunity to significantly improve waterway health using new technology that’s safer, more efficient and works 24/7. We think this has great potential to be adopted more widely, delivering wider environmental and community benefits,” he said.
“Port of Brisbane has enjoyed a long partnership with Ocean Crusaders, and we look forward to benefitting from their expertise and working with them on this innovative project.”
Ocean Crusaders Founder and Managing Director, Ian Thomson, added “The continued growing support from Port of Brisbane shows their commitment to the environment and with this funding from IFM Investors, our dream of launching this new device to stop debris hitting our bay is an exciting time for us here at Ocean Crusaders. We are grateful for the support from both of these organisations, however it is our marine and bird life that will be more grateful when their environment is debris free.”
As a major shareholder in PBPL, IFM Investors recognises the value that partnerships like this can make in the communities where its infrastructure investments operate.
IFM Investors Global Head of Infrastructure, Kyle Mangini said, “We believe it’s important for the sustainability of our infrastructure investments that they also actively contribute to the sustainability of their local communities. We are proud to support this collaboration between Port of Brisbane and Ocean Crusaders and the environmental and community benefits it will create.”
The SPARC unit works by using booms to channel litter to a central collection point. The litter then travels up a conveyor and is deposited into a collection barge.
The project will begin in November 2020 with Ocean Crusaders undertaking fortnightly clean-ups in the area to better understand litter deposition along the cruise terminal’s seawall. The SPARC unit will be installed early in the new year.
Other project partners include Suez, who are providing additional funding to assist the SPARC unit trial and Brisbane City Council (BCC), who will also provide funding for ongoing maintenance of the SPARC unit.
The IFM Investors Community Grants Program aims to support IFM’s infrastructure investee companies to collaborate with local community organisations on projects that create mutual benefits.