Monday, December 7, 4:30 pm Courtenay Council Chambers –you will want to be there to hear firsthand how our new Courtenay councillors can/will make a real difference in planning for a sustaining and sustainable valley.
In making a carefully considered presentation,  local resident Will Cole-Hamilton will test the willingness of Courtenay Council to respond to residents’ November 29 call for action on climate change by committing to finally take the visionary Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy(CVSS)
off the dusty shelf and begin to put it into action.
While Comox Valley residents wait with bated breath for our national leaders at the Paris Climate Summit to come up with a meaningful/actionable response to the imminent threat of global warming, Cole-Hamilton is delivering a citizens’ letter to council demanding that CVSS come down from the dusty back room shelves of local government. Cole-Hamilton’s letter points to the community consultations with citizens, businesses, community groups; the collaboration of all local governments, the outstanding professional guidance that went into making CVSS into a visionary and practical guide to creating a sustainable Comox Valley.
How could such good will, such vision about creating a healthy, vibrant valley for us and generations to come, such a unique coming together of so much of our community get—largely–left on a shelf to gather dust for five years?
The interesting thing about Cole-Hamilton’s presentation to Courtenay Council is that it is the first and most significant chance new Courtenay councillors, who ran for office on the promise of a refreshing new view of working together for the good of our valley and its residents, have had to demonstrate that they really can make a difference.
Why is taking CVSS off the dusty shelf so important?
Because, as Naomi Klein, points out so clearly in her Earth shaking new film, This Changes Everything! Sustainability is a whole different way of looking at who we are, what is important and why we come together in community. At its core it compels us to improve the quality of life for all citizens while protecting the environmental systems and resources on which life depends. It’s a global journey that depends on local actions. It requires us to re-examine our values, take a deeper look at how the earth and its systems function, and find new models for cooperative action.
Beyond protecting our planet’s health, sustainability is also about allowing us to effectively respond to changes or severe events that may impact our communities.
According to Cole-Hamilton. “Endorsing the CVSS, reaffirming its vision after five years, is a critical step towards a more resilient community and making more smart, secure long-term infrastructure choices.”
“At a $360,000 price tag, with half that funding from local taxpayers, the CVSS is a significant investment that can’t be forgotten. Dozens of citizens, planners and even local students also put significant time and effort into creating this roadmap.”
In 2010, the Regional District produced the Sustainability Strategy in partnership with all local governments. CVSS was intended to be local municipalities plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and plan for a more sustainable Comox Valley. Though the CVSS was intended to guide decision-making and coordinate regional initiatives, it was endorsed but never formally adopted by Comox Valley municipalities.
The Sustainability Strategy is a community plan that creates new knowledge and leading approaches to sustainability for communities in the Comox Valley. It recommends a new level of cooperation between individuals, organizations, and governments in the Comox Valley, focusing our collective efforts on the well-being of both our citizens and our environment.
CVSS is a visionary document that clearly identifies what a Sustainable Comox Valley would look like and describes the actions needed to achieve it. This tremendously valuable work has—so far– been undertaken in tentative and uncoordinated gestures. Needed now are bold, sincere and dedicated actions to achieve genuine sustainable outcomes.
We all have good reason to hope that, under the guidance of our new/progressive councillors it will be recognized that now is time to move from words to actions; to review how well we have met the targets and goals of CVSS, to reenergize our commitment to CVSS, to further elaborate the vision, goals and targets in light of a current community collaborative process, to look at the local relevance of what other communities have been doing to create sustainable communities, to enact the key recommendation of CVSS—to establish a committee for the purpose of evaluating and promoting the goals of CVSS !!!
See you Monday, 4:30 pm Courtenay Council Chambers