Sustainability Plan

Did You Know . . . Work has begun on a Town of Athabasca Sustainability Plan. Residents and stakeholders are involved and more public participation is encouraged.

 

Input from local stakeholders vital to Town Sustainability Plan

Research has begun on the preparation of a Town of Athabasca Sustainability Plan (TASP) and local stakeholders are actively involved in the process.

Responding to a public invitation to participate in the planning stages, groups of residents and other interested parties have already met for meetings on June 9 and June 20, with the next public meeting planned for early fall, the date and location to be announced.

The intent of a sustainability plan is to help guide and encourage development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Planning for sustainable development creates the opportunity for a more comprehensive long range planning strategy.

The Town of Athabasca is working in collaboration with Municipal Planning Services (Alberta) Ltd. (MPS) to prepare the TASP.

According to Jane Dauphinee, Planner with MPS, the TASP will be built on the four pillars of sustainability: Environmental Integrity and Protection, Community Well-Being, Economic Prosperity, and Strong and Supportive Social Infrastructure.

In her initial letter of invitation to the Athabasca community, Jane said, “The goal of the TASP is to establish a long term vision for the community as well as set in place policies and guidelines to help form, amongst other matters, the Town’s Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaw.”

Input from local stakeholders is vital to the TASP planning process.

“One of the most important steps in the planning process is to receive input from stakeholders about the issues, opportunities and constraints that affect the Town,” says Jane. “This is to ensure that the policies enshrined in the completed TASP are both tenable and achievable.”

Including members of Town Council and MPS consultants and staff, about 50 people attended each of the meetings on June 9 and 20th where interest and enthusiasm were apparent.

The June 9 meeting was an introductory session held in the evening. The meeting on June 20 was an all-day session that was demanding on the participants, but productive.

“The group was highly motivated and stayed focused, even though it was a long day,” recalls Jane. “We were impressed.”

MPS takes a values-based approach to the planning process.

“We want to identify the vision and the values of the community in addition to the opportunities and constraints,” Jane explains. “We need the community to tell us what they want.”

And that they did, she says. “Now we can take that feedback and develop some policies, something measureable.”

MPS aims to have all of the necessary information collected and compiled by December or January and the TASP completed by next summer.

“The end result will be a community-driven plan,” says Jane.

The next public meeting, to be announced for early fall, will be an important one for residents and community stakeholders to attend.

Jane knows that people are very busy in general and that many Athabascans are already stretched by their community commitments. “This is a pretty unique community. The spirit of volunteerism in Athabasca is quite strong.”

As busy as they are, she encourages all interested parties to watch for the meeting announcement and plan to attend for the benefit of the community, both present and future.

Sustainability issues and interests encompass every aspect of the community and can include the natural environment, tourism and recreation management, economic development, residential growth and/or governance practices as they pertain to the future of the Town of Athabasca, and more.

For more information about the TASP process or to be added to the mailing list for meeting updates, email Jane at j.dauphinee@munplan.ab.ca


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