Community Comment, by Cindy Pearce
Through the gas tax, the BC government has funded many communities in recent years to complete Integrated Community Sustainability Plans (ICSPs). ICSPs encourage communities to take a fresh, long-term look at their future and focus on finding ways to become more sustainable.
The name itself is a mouthful – here’s an explanation:
Integrated – Community members and the City have crafted many plans in recent years. The ICSP will create an ‘umbrella’ that integrates and links these plans for efficient action on community priorities.
Community – Most of the plans the City initiates provide direction mainly to City operations. The ICSP is a community plan – not a City plan. This is another opportunity for Revelstoke to come together to solve problems and pursue its goals.
Sustainability – Sustainability has long been a foundation for life in Revelstoke. Crafted in 1994, Revelstoke’s Community Vision Statement begins with ‘Revelstoke will be a leader in achieving a sustainable community by balancing environmental, social and economic values within a local, regional and global context.’ This ICSP will provide a sustainability framework for prioritizing actions to meet our current needs while ensuring that the needs of future generations are also met.
Plan – While this is a plan on paper, the ICSP Steering Committee and project team are committed to ensuring this plan leads to community-wide actions to address priorities by community organizations, the City, businesses and individuals. It is a chance to focus, integrate, and strengthen activities community-wide, and galvanize implementation.
Revelstoke has already made substantial progress towards sustainability. In addition to our 1994 Community Vision, the Community Development Action Plans (CDAPs) in 2001 and 2006 and our Official Community Plan are all based on the commitment of the community to integrate environmental, social and economic values to secure our long-term well-being.
As well, community organizations continue to work together on important initiatives such as environmental education, early childhood development, literacy, youth opportunities and multiculturalism, which support long-term community sustainability.
So how will this plan make a difference to life in Revelstoke? Looking back at how the 2006 Community Development Action Plan made a difference provides some examples. In that plan, the highest priority identified by residents was building the aquatic centre – which has been done. The 2006 plan included several pages of economic development actions such as continuing business supports, extending Grizzly Plaza and expanding the trail network – these have now all been completed. It also recommended that the City create social development and environment committees, similar to the long-standing economic development commissions, with coordinators to expedite completion of the actions in the plan, and that has been done.
A community-based steering committee appointed by the City is guiding the creation of Revelstoke’s ICSP. The project team responsible for the project work includes consultants from within and outside the community with expertise in social, economic, environmental and community planning and action – reflecting the scope of the ICSP.
The recent community survey is one of the first steps in creating this ICSP. This survey will provide the team with information about residents’ well-being, desires for the future and priorities for improving community life.
As in past CDAPs, community-wide actions will be prioritized based on the survey results, current data about the community and community dialogue. In addition, the ICSP will also use a long-term lens of possible futures for Revelstoke to set priorities. The project calendar below highlights the community dialogue sessions. Mark your calendar for the Sustainability Fair on November 27 at the Community Centre.
Revelstoke ICSP Project Calendar
October: State of sustainability and the community survey.
November: Long-term strategy and sustainability fair.
December: Five-year plan and action priority discussions.
February: Sustainability plan and sustainability celebration
Cindy Pearce is the leader of the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan team.