Solar Boosting Community Safety In Douglas Shire

Solar street lighting - Douglas Shire

It looks like Queensland’s Douglas Shire Council put its Safer Communities grant money to good use – and solar power features in its purchases.

The Shire of Douglas is a local government area in Far North Queensland, located on the coast around 80 kilometres north of Cairns.

The Federal Government’s Safer Communities Fund provides (or provided – I’m not sure if there will be further rounds) entities including community organisations and local councils with grants of up to $1 million for crime prevention initiatives. Douglas Shire Council was a recipient in Round 3 and recently showed off how it had invested the money.

Part of the cash went towards the installation of solar powered lighting along parts of Wharf Street in Port Douglas (pictured above) –  and other “black spot” areas are currently being surveyed by council.

Furthermore, four new portable cameras and two mobile, trailer-based cameras will help pick up on (and hopefully discourage) occurrences of anti-social behaviour as well as illegal dumping and camping activities in problem areas around the Shire.

Mobile solar security cameras

These systems, also solar powered, are triggered by a motion sensor that causes the flood lights to engage and the camera to start recording. The cameras can record up to 30 days of activity. The mobile units appear to be fitted with loudspeakers as well, but their function wasn’t mentioned – perhaps they are part of an alarm system should someone attempt to interfere with the unit.

According to Douglas Shire Council Manager of Environment and Planning and Local Disaster Coordinator, Paul Hoye:

“The new portable cameras have been placed in areas where recent anti-social activity has occurred or illegal dumping has been reported. The Police are also using the cameras to keep vulnerable residents of the Mossman Gorge community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Douglas Shire Council And Solar Energy

This isn’t Douglas Shire Council’s first use of solar power. As part of its Green Buildings program, a system with 120 solar panels fitted with Enphase microinverters were installed on Council’s Mossman administration building in late 2014. You could previously check the performance of this system here, but the last day of statistics recorded was on March 20.

It’s not clear what other solar power systems Douglas Shire Council has in place, but it is also a member of the Cities Power Partnership – it joined in 2017 and was one of the founding CPP members. Among its CPP pledges are to power council operations with renewable energy, and set targets to increase the level of renewables over time. Council has also committed to opening up unused land it manages for renewable energy.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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