Rossland recognized for efforts to climb Mt Sustainability

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
May 2nd, 2012

The Fraser Basin Council’s “Smart Planning for Communities” (SPC) partnership program has put Rossland in the spotlight as an example of best practices in community sustainability and land use planning.

The SPC report says Rossland was an “early adopter of Integrated Community Sustainability Planning,” so is able to “provide lessons that are relevant to other communities.” The case study “describes the journey to becoming a more sustainable Rossland” and will be circulated widely through the Fraser Council’s networks.

Sustainability Commission chairperson Terry Miller said, “It’s great to be recognized.” Within Rossland, he said, the perception is that “we’re bumping along and life is good, [but] the rest of the world’s perspective is that we’re doing something really special here.”

The case study—which can be downloaded at the bottom of this article—describes the Visions to Action planning process that resulted in the Strategic Sustainability Plan (SSP), and how Rossland has taken “large strides towards implementing the land management goals.”

“The SSP planning process that Rossland undertook involved extensive community consultation, the inclusion of creativity, fun and community building and resulted in an action-oriented plan that was adopted by Rossland City Council,” the SPC wrote. “Council also established (by bylaw) a Sustainability Commission in February 2009 to oversee implementation and ongoing management of the SSP. City staff are working actively to implement suggested policy changes that arose from the process.”

Miller said, “[The case study] recognizes Rossland as a community that’s got sustainability and smart planning on its mind, and points to a lot of the good work council and staff are doing around zoning and planning.”

The case study highlights “key land use actions” that the city has taken “that will have a far reaching and long term effect on the future form and development of the community. ” The SPC wrote, “The integration of multiple approaches to creating sustainable land use makes this set of policies innovative.”

“The SSP provides a clear vision for Rossland’s future with an inspiring vision for the year 2030,” the report said, and notes that the particular “land use decisions and new policies” since adopted by the city have put Rossland on the right path.

The report also mentions the importance of broad community involvement: “Since adoption, the City’s SSP process has included many volunteers on task forces, coordinated through means of a central Sustainability Commission. Other players in the community are tackling the goals of the SSP as well; Rossland REAL Food, the Visions for Small Schools, Neighbourhoods of Learning, the Heritage Commission, the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Rossland have all played an active role.”

The report concludes, “Becoming a sustainable community is a long term journey. By adopting policies that reflect the SSP, Rossland’s City Hall is setting the groundwork for a compact, walkable, healthy community over the long term. Many of these changes will take years or even decades to show their effects, but the stage has been set for Rossland to reach its vision of a sustainable future.

Long time Rossland resident Ann Damude will now take a leading role on that stage as the manager of the Sustainability Commission, the position vacated by Lea Thuot at the end of 2011.

“We’re very excited,” Miller said. “A lot of great people applied for the job and it generated a lot of good discussion, but we’re really looking forward to working with Ann. She’s a tireless promoter and very well connected to the community. We’re hoping she’ll get the town reignited about sustainability.”

The Fraser Basin Council’s Smart Planning for Communities report, “Sustainability Planning on the Ground From Planning to Reality! Rossland’s integrated community Sustainability Planning Process,” can be downloaded below.

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