Every second week, I have the opportunity to share my thoughts on a number of issues that face my communities and in January, I wrote an MLA report about community resilience. In recent times, it was this report that garnered the greatest number of constituent contacts, indicating to me that this is an issue that is of interest to many.
To increase the resilience of a community, action must be taken to enhance the capacity of citizens and institutions to thrive even during times of social, environmental or economic change. In my previous report, I wrote primarily about the need for communities to be able to make decisions for themselves.
But there are number of other factors that are needed to ensure that rural communities are able to manage the challenges brought about by climate change and peak oil. Local government leaders across the region are applying sustainability principles to governance, making sure that we are prepared for whatever the future holds.
Four key principles of sustainability that are being applied by communities are resource conservation, social equity, adaptive management and just transition.
Resilient communities are careful to use existing resources in a manner that ensures maximum benefit for its citizens, not just for today but for tomorrow.
Resilient communities work toward developing policies and programs to make life more affordable and provide opportunities for all citizens to fully participate in community life.
Resilient communities are committed to adaptive management, using the best practices available, developing a culture of continuous learning, and being prepared to modify strategies as more information becomes available.
But resilient communities also require a provincial understanding of just transition. Just transition means that mechanisms must be in place to ensure that as communities adapt to environmental, economic and social change no individual or sector bears an unfair burden. The provincial government must commit to just transition, it must fulfill this responsibility to communities.
There will be challenges ahead. But I believe our communities will thrive as citizens work together, share individual knowledge and focus efforts on building a stronger community.
Norm Macdonald is the MLA for Columbia River – Revelstoke