Bathurst Sustainable Development

The coastal city of Bathurst, New Brunswick, (population 12,714) is proving to be fertile ground for the development of strategic sustainability initiatives. In 1998, an organization called Bathurst Sustainable Development (BSD) was formed in response to growing local concerns over quality of life and water in the region. The project began with the goal of facilitating communication and action towards sustainability among businesses, the local government and the community.

Today, BSD operates as an Environmental Resource Centre to help the public learn more about the environment and sustainability, under the direction of Community Development Coordinator Brenda Kelley. It also continues to work with the municipality itself, most recently co-developing a Local Plan of Action for greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the city.

In 2007, BSD joined the Atlantic Canada Sustainability Initiative (ACSI), a regional project designed to build capacity and momentum around sustainability. Along with 13 other businesses, NGOs and municipalities, BSD signed a project charter committing it to take action on sustainability issues, using The Natural Step Framework as a guide.

“TNS and ACSI coaches were vital in providing understanding about the ACSI initiative and principles of TNS,” Kelley said.

As a partner organization of ACSI, BSD developed a 2020 vision for the City of Bathurst, outlining the characteristics and objectives of a sustainable Bathurst. The city approved the vision statement in March 2008 and followed BSD’s recommendation that it become a partner of ACSI itself.

As a part of its ACSI commitment, BSD educated city staff on sustainability topics, including The Natural Step framework and the practice of sustainable procurement. The organization worked directly with city staff on the drafting of a green procurement policy, which was adopted by City Council in March 2008.  This was accomplished through a series of information sharing meetings, webinar participation, and the use of examples of ethical purchasing policies adopted by other communities.

Finally, BSD prepared a number of transportation-related recommendations as part of its Sustainable Transportation Action Plan (STAP). The goal of the plan is to ensure that community members have access to active and sustainable transportation options such as walking, biking and public transportation, and the city has already adopted a number of the STAP recommendations.

BSD continues to work with staff at the City of Bathurst to develop stronger leadership on sustainability within the municipality itself. For more information on Bathurst Sustainable Development, visit the organization’s website.