Sustainability Commission Update: A chat with manager Lea Thuot

Tyler Austin Bradley
By Tyler Austin Bradley
December 8th, 2010

Following up on the Telegraph’srecent report on a proposed business centre in the Bank of Montreal building  the opportunity to sit down and chat with Sustainability Commission liaison Lea Thuot presented itself this past week. Interested in both the latest addition to the SC team and in coming up to speed on recent Visions To Action actions, we approached an extremely busy Ms. Thuot and leapt through our window of opportunity in order to make her acquaintance. 

Holding both a Master’s degree in sustainable strategic planning (is there any other kind?) and a hot coffee courtesy of one of our fine local cafes, Thuot spoke to some of the Sustainability Commission’s work and that of the task forces currently operating within its purview.
Now familiar with the the scope of the V2A plan, Thuot referenced recent meetings whereat a review process is currently underway, a refresher course, if you will. One such recent meeting was divided into a morning session devoted to celebrating the community and recognizing successes both V2A-led/inspired and independent (for example, Rossland Real Food and its many initiatives) while the afternoon focused more on brainstorming and advancing of the overarching V2A plan itself.
“We’re dividing things into short, mid and long term goals,” Thuot explained. “We have another half day session coming up,” a chance to regroup and keep things moving along.
“There is a focus on prioritizing actions,” she continued, “and one of the key initiatives right now is drafting a communications and engagement plan.”
That means devising methodology to communicate on a gainful/meaningful level with you, the general public. The Sustainability Commission is committed to improving the diffusion of material relevant to the V2A plan and doing so in a coherent, manageable fashion.
“A new website is being developed,” Thuot states, “and that will increase visibility for the Sustainability Commission and its activities locally.”
One would assume globally, too, should its achievements attract the sort of attention Economic Development task force members and the business community identified in their 2010 Nomadic Entrepreneur study. 
A draft of that plan is now available. Recommendations include the afore-referenced business centre, a dynamic meeting place that, while not intended to step on localized toes such as those belonging to Community Futures’ Business Incubator, will satisfy an identifiable need as expressed by a gaggle of free range nomads.
“We are developing a business plan right now and looking for options in terms of financing such a space. The (Nomadic Entrepreneur) report indicated that meeting places and rooms, a boardroom, would enable local business people to better serve their clients and conduct their business in a professional environment.”
While this reporter loves our coffee houses as much as anyone, I paused in our exchange to peer around our surroundings. The irony was not lost on me. Informal is good, and can be advantageous in certain business to business scenarios (witness the binge drinking in straight-laced Japanese business culture), but sometimes a committed meeting space equipped with the latest and greatest would be a real boon.
Skype is not a panacea.
While Thuot notes that a great deal of the Sustainability Commission’s activities of late have focused on economic and/or business development, she cites the interface and overlap between the business community and environmental initiatives, too. Plans to collaborate on a revamped and reintroduced Green Drinks are in the works, and nods are made to the ongoing efforts of the commission’s work on ecology-related issues (look for next week’s interview with Aaron Cosbey right here in the Telegraph).

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