Friday, May 15, 2009

City of Surrey Sustainability Charter

Last night we had the pleasure to hear from Mark Allison, Senior Policy Planner at the City of Surrey. He delivered a presentation about Surrey’s new sustainability charter which was adopted in September 2008. Surrey took a bit of a different approach to their sustainability charter compared to the Township of Langley. The Langley charter is a framework or principles that must be applied to all Township actions moving forward. I was told that the Township is very busy reviewing their operations through the lens of the charter. Surrey’s charter contains principle as well as action items. For example, this year they are working on setting up a Sustainability Office and working on metrics to track sustainability. The Surrey plan is based on a 50 year vision of the community. Also, Surrey uses something called a “Sustainability Cube” (which you can see in the presentation below.) It lays out Surrey’s short, mid, and long term goals in the areas of social/cultural, environment, and economy.
Having heard presentations on both the Township and Surrey’s sustainability charter, I am very excited to see how this will impact community design in the South Fraser region. Langley and Surrey have the chance to be real sustainability leaders and set an example for other communities. My hope is that out of these charters, we will start building communities around people (and not cars) once again. Of course transit is a very important part of the puzzle and the Township of Langley and City of Surrey will need help from TransLink, the Province, and the Federal government to provide the transit needed to build truly sustainable communities.

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