Sustainability plan seeks community engagement – from Coast Reporter

This was fascinating to write. The Sunshine Coast has some incredible visionaries here.

ALLIE NICHOL/STAFF WRITER
After months of hard work and collaboration, a draft version of a long-range sustainability plan for the Sunshine Coast is being offered to residents for public feedback.

The plan, One Coast, lays out a vision for a healthy and sustainable future for the Coast and its residents and identifies key actions to take in the short term to achieve that vision.

To support the plan’s intention, which is a call to action at every level of the community, a discussion paper has been assembled. We Envision is a collaboratively created document that provides the plan’s vision via a set of core values: economic vitality, health and social well being, cultural vitality, and environmental responsibility.

From those core values, 13 strategic directions form the plan’s focus. They encompass a wide range of issues, including employment, housing, solid waste, and food security.

Julie Clark, education and outreach co-ordinator for the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) and plan team member, said in addition to setting the groundwork for a sustainable future, We Envision evokes a conversation.

“We hope it is a platform for collaborative action and a structure for holding ourselves accountable to the medium and long term goals that are suggested in the plan,” said Clark. “We also hope it provides citizens and community leaders with a snapshot of where we are today and what interconnect or collaborative work is needed in the future.”

When asked how the plan got started, Clark said its development came from a request from the SCRD board, which wanted a sustainability plan put together for the region. SCRD staff sought funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to get the process rolling.

“What we did then was put out an invitation to a series of community leaders who had been asking for this type of work over the years,” said Clark.

A diverse team, made up of self-employed individuals as well as those from various local organizations, was assembled.

“The way we wanted to develop this plan was not as the SCRD only and not only as one organization team, but rather as a community team,” Clark said.

As for the discussion paper, which took the team about a year to create, the current draft is based on planning and visioning documents, making We Envision what Clark calls “a starting point for further discussion.”

And the plan is taking its next steps in soliciting that very discussion.

Print, social media and event appearance campaigns have been launched to engage the public. The plan’s website, http://www.onecoast.ca, contains a multitude of information and a survey. Clark said success stories of individuals and organizations related to the plan are in the works for the site as well.

Once feedback is compiled, a final draft will be presented to local government for adoption.

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