Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2010 Community Sustainability Snapshot

The Fresh Outlook Foundation, a Okanagan based sustainable advocacy organization, released its 2010 Community Sustainability Snapshot survey of local government. I suggest that you download the whole report, but I wanted to highlight a few of the results.

About half of the local governments surveyed had sustainability plans and project in 2010 while in 2007 only about a quarter had plans. It was interesting to note that limited financial resources, aversion to change, and public apathy/resistance are some of the top barrier to impalement sustainable community policies.

Not surprising, local government planning and legislation (e.g., OCPs, RGSs) have been the tools of choice to promote sustainability. Also, local governments look to other local governments when developing sustainability plans. In fact the top resource requested by local governments was case studies from other communities in their province. This lead me to the conclusion that we need a few bold and visionary communities that other communities can look to when implementing sustainability plans.

Water efficiency/conservation, solid waste reduction, energy efficiency, active transportation projects are the top four sustainability initiatives that local government has worked on. When it comes to funding, it is the provincial government that has provided the most money to support sustainability projects.

Looking at the responses in the survey, it seems that local government staff really need the support of elected official (who look to the general public) to implement sustainability projects and with the lack of funding being cited a the top barrier to sustainability, it seems that general public and elected official education is something that is still very much needed.

PS: I'd like to point out the the Township of Langley had the third most respondents to this survey at 4, while the Town of Ladysmith had 5, the District of Summerland had 6 people fill out the survey.

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