City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh has returned from the 15th Organization of World Historical Cities Congress in Krakow, Poland.
While in Poland, Cr McIntosh also visited a Waste to Energy facility with adjacent all waste interchange and education centre, and the Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp, which is a World Heritage listed site.
During the congress, Cr McIntosh met with key people to help progress the Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage Listing bid.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) will now visit the Central Victorian Goldfields next September as part of the listing bid.
ICOMOS is a non-government, international organisation dedicated to the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places.
It is one of the two advisory bodies who provide the World Heritage Committee with evaluations of the cultural and natural sites nominated for World Heritage Listing.
ICOMOS will tour the entire Central Goldfields area to help assess the bid which, if successful, is predicted to add $68 million annually to the region’s economy.
The theme of the OWHC Congress was Sustainable Tourism, which means not having either “over tourism”, where residents feel over-run by visitors, or “under tourism”, where heritage tourism assets are not being fully leveraged.
“It’s important to strike a good balance to benefit the local people,” Cr McIntosh said.
“It was good to learn more about sustainable tourism from the people who are actually doing it, experiencing it and tackling it.”
City of Ballarat Heritage and Cultural Landscapes Coordinator Susan Fayad was also a congress facilitator.
Cr McIntosh also visited Krakow’s Waste to Energy plant, which has an adjacent all waste interchange facility and education centre.
The all waste interchange is contracted by the Krakow Mayor to ensure it remains under Council ownership and control, which ensures public good over profit driven outcomes.
The education facility is also critical to success of the Waste to Energy facility, including getting children as young as four, families and businesses involved in waste education programs.
Cr McIntosh said nothing is wasted in Krakow’s waste management system, with everything used and reused.
“The all waste interchange sells the waste to the recycling plants and the Waste to Energy plant receives what’s left,” Cr McIntosh said.
In Krakow, landfill storage in 2012 was 42.7 per cent, which was down to 3.7% in 2018.
With Krakow’s 60,000 properties, the cost of energy works out to $5 a month per person.
Cr McIntosh also had an informal meeting with the Mayor of Kyoto, who is the secretariat of the World League of Historical Cities, of which Ballarat is a board member.
Cr McIntosh suggested a Creative Cities sub theme for the next conference, to be hosted by Kazan, Russia and which will have a sustainable development focus.
“We have recommended a Creative Cities sub theme to show how creative and cultural industries can thrive in an historic city and help conserve heritage in turn,” Cr McIntosh said.
“We think that authenticity and unique attributes should be protected and highlighted wherever possible to provide the most sustainable heritage product.”
Cr McIntosh said the history within this site is poignant and significant and it was a moving experience, particularly thinking of those in Ballarat who may be connected to the story of this period of history.
Today the site is a museum which sensitively highlights the site’s shocking history.
The experience provided by sensitive interpretation, tour guides and installations all added to the retelling of this pertinent story.