Sustainability issues have been on the table at Creston Town Hall since it co-sponsored a two-year sustainability pilot project 20 years ago. How to deal with environmental, social and economic impacts in the Creston Valley took another step forward on Feb. 26 when an integrated community sustainability plan was adopted by town council.
“Cultivating Creston gives us a vision of the future as seen by local residents,” said Mayor Ron Toyota. “I think it will be an important tool for many years, and one that will help inform our official community plan, which should be updated in the next few years.”
Ross Beddoes, Town of Creston municipal services co-ordinator, spearheaded the project locally. He said last week that no local taxation was used to create the report conducted by the Centre for Sustainability in Whistler.
“Funding was partially provided by a grant from the Real Estate Foundation of BC and CMHC,” he said. “The remainder of the project was funded as an eligible project under our gas tax funding.”
Not just another vague nod toward the importance of sustainability, Cultivating Creston (download a copy here) includes a “vision, plan and process for continued success to the year 2030, and a way to position the Town of Creston and Creston Valley for ongoing success and sustainability in the longer-term.”
A 16-member local advisory team included a high school student, a young post-secondary student, seniors, business professionals and others who are active in the area’s social and economic well-being.
The Cultivating Creston sums up its goals as:
•the articulation of the community’s vision for success and sustainability in the future;
•actions to move the Creston Valley toward the desired future;
•indicators to monitor progress; and
•an annual process and the tools for ongoing implementation, alignment and continuous improvement.
The 66-page report cautions, “Achieving success and sustainability will be a long-term journey — not something that can be accomplished overnight. We cannot crush our local economy as we move toward this goal — in fact, increasingly aligning our economic system with the objectives for sustainability will help us get there.”
Cultivating Creston outlines the “benefits of a sustainability approach to long-range planning and innovation”:
•helps communities to avoid economic development pitfalls and identify economic development opportunities within today’s major societal trends;
•helps to ensure that activities to support local environmental, social and economic values are conceived and implemented;
•helps to attract people to the community and to instill an even greater sense of purpose; and
•allows the local government to access more funding opportunities for infrastructure and funding.
The local advisors identified priorities, including the enhancement of community life for all ages, revitalizing the “Creston Valley experience”, creating collaborative partnerships, protecting natural and agricultural areas and strengthening the local economy.
Working to enhance community life for ages will mean that by 2030:
•people are supported to live healthy, well-rounded lifestyles through recreation, leisure, learning, education and cultural pursuits, and convenient access to health services is enabled;
•the culture of respect, inclusion and participation is strong, where people of all ages, incomes and abilities feel connected, valued and safe;
•people can afford and enjoy life in the Creston Valley, enabled through such things as adequate employment, economic activities and available and affordable housing;
•homes, buildings and places are healthy, enjoyable, attractive, accessible and affordable; and
•community needs for adequate, efficient and high quality food, water, waste, energy, communication and transportation systems and infrastructure are met.
For more information about Cultivating Creston, go to the Town of Creston website at www.creston.ca and click on the button in the March 5 update.