Williams Lake, BC—a Natural Step partner—wins prestigious sustainability community award

Along with our partners at the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, The Natural Step Canada would like to congratulate our friends at The City of Williams Lake for winning the 2010 Sustainable Community Award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. We applaud the community’s impeccable leadership and dedication to sustainability.

Enjoy the following story on the award from the Williams Lake Tribune:

City wins Canadian sustainability award for planning framework

The City of Williams Lake is the winner of a 2010 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Community Award for its Integrated Community Sustainability Planning Framework.

Mayor Kerry Cook and Chief Administrative Officer Brian Carruthers received the national FCM Sustainability Community Award at the FCM convention in Toronto on Saturday, May 29.

“We are thrilled to be recognized at the national level for our efforts in developing our ICSP,” Cook says. “Credit goes to our staff, consulting team and the community for making our process an award-winning success.”

Each year, FCM gives out Awards of Excellence for achievements in sustainable development and planning. This year, the Williams Lake ICSP stood out for the innovative public engagement and participation process that was developed by the planning team.

“As opposed to the conventional public meeting/open house processes we traditionally use for planning, our staff and consultants went out to a number of community events and venues to get broader participation from our residents,” Carruthers says.

The Imagine our Future initiative set the stage for the ICSP by having residents describe how they would like to see the community in 2030. Interested community partners were then brought together in a series of café-style meetings to develop strategies to get the community to the desired state in 10 key priority areas.

This phase of the project is referred to as “Creating our Future” and will provide a basis for the review of the City’s Official Community Plan this summer and fall.

The City says the ICSP will not only influence the creation of a new Official Community Plan but will also provide a valuable tool that will be used by staff and council to ensure sustainability principles are considered in future decision making.

Following receipt of the award, Cook and Carruthers participated in a round-table presentation on Monday in Toronto, speaking with conference delegates from across Canada about the Williams Lake ICSP project. The City’s trophy will be on display in City Hall along with information posters that were prepared by FCM to profile the Williams Lake project.

This year, 22 municipalities and individuals are being honoured in four different award categories, which range from innovation in sustainable practices to involvement in international municipal co-operation. The awards were scheduled to be presented in two separate ceremonies on May 29 and 30 during FCM’s four-day annual conference.

The FCM Sustainable Community Awards include eight categories: brownfields, buildings, energy, planning, residential development, transportation, waste, and water.

The City of Williams Lake won in the planning category for Imagine Our Future, which is a joint initiative between the City of Williams Lake, its community partners, the Williams Lake Indian Band and Soda Creek Indian Band, and the community at large to envision a successful and sustainable Williams Lake in 2030 and create transition strategies to get there.

With the support of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability and The Natural Step Canada, the City is using community input to develop an integrated community sustainability planning (ICSP) framework. The ICSP will integrate social, cultural, environmental, economic, and land-use planning pillars to shape the community’s future.

The ICSP will be used as a lens to review the current Official Community Plan and restructure it within the principles of integrated community sustainability planning, and will guide the city’s development for the next 25 years.

By Erin Hitchcock, June 1, 2010

Source: Williams Lake Tribune