After almost a year and half the Town of Drumheller has developed a draft of a Municipal Sustainability Plan and will be looking for public input on the document before it is adopted by council.
CAO Ray Romanetz explains Palliser Regional Municipal Services was contracted by the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) to develop these plans for a number of it member municipalities.
According to the document, one of the reasons to draft a Municipal Sustainability Plan is to help communities gain access to the New Deal For Cities and Communities, or the Gas Tax Fund. For communities to continue to access the maximum funding available from the federal government, all municipalities will have to develop an integrated Community Sustainability Plan.
A municipal Sustainability Plan, as defined by AUMA is “a high level over-arching document that guides the community into the future. It can be best be viewed as a strategic business plan for the community that identifies short, medium and long term actions for implementation, tracks and monitors progress and is reviewed and revised on an annual basis. A Municipal Sustainability Plan therefore provides guidance for the development or alignment of all municipal documents.”
“Once it is in place, before council makes any decisions regarding what they do with land use or infrastructure, or whatever, they would look at what they have put together here, to make sure the big picture vision regarding sustainability is consistent with this document,” said Romanetz.
The plan addresses the five dimensions of a sustainable community including environment, economy, society, culture and governance. Within each dimension, the committee identified issues, the level of success, the current reality, and initiatives to meet sustainability goals in the future. This allows to the community to work towards a bigger vision, rather than reacting to issues as they arise.
“Now we have to be thinking big picture, to look at these things that would help our community and see how they fit together. And then you have to look at all the things that have to happen, and bring all the players together so we can make that a reality,” said Romanetz.
Paul Salvatore, director of Community Services explains the Municipal Sustainability Plan is the over arching document that must be taken into account as decision are made, to make sure the community is working towards goals of sustainability.
“The whole process was about getting people to talk about Drumheller, what we are, what we can be, and what opportunities are out there,” said Salvatore.
To identify these issues the committee met over the last year and half to hammer out the plan.
Romanetz said council agrees the Citizens Advisory Group represents a good cross section of the community; from administration to service clubs, political interests and the public at large.
“It is very wide ranging as to who has had input. Once that draft was put together with the various recommendations that are in his report, now we have to give this to the public,” said Romanetz.
He encourages resident to take a look at the document, which is available at www.dinosaurvalley.com, and to come to the public presentation to learn or to ask questions.
“They will have a chance to talk one-on-one with staff or council, and after that if people want to submit written submissions. Council will consider all of these before finally adopting this document,” said Romanetz.
A public meeting to present the document is scheduled for Wednesday, September 8 at 7 p.m. at the Civic Centre. A draft of the Municipal Sustainability plan is available online at www.dinsaurvalley.com to review. It can also be access at Town Hall.