Creating a plan for future sustainability in Rossland

Rossland residents once again had a chance for input on the direction of sustainability in this city.

Rossland residents once again had a chance for input on the direction of sustainability in this city.

The Rossland Sustainability Commission has pursued initiative to bring many different aspects of Rossland to the forefront of sustainability.

Ann Damude, manager of the Rossland Sustainability Commission, said the commission was asking questions it hoped would spur on ideas to what is important to the community.

“Basically, we asked two simple questions,” Damude said. “One was, what current sustainability initiatives are working? And the other was, what should we do next?”

That, said Damude, is what they really hope to find an answer for.

The initial survey was through the Thought Stream process online, and 93 residents gave their feedback.

Damude said the 93 people who answered the survey was a great response, as that is a 20 per cent uptake of the people they sent it out to initially.

On Tuesday, the commission held the second of their input sessions at the old BMO building downtown. The first one was last Thursday at the Rossland Legion hall.

“With the meetings, we were trying to reach the people who didn’t have an opportunity in the Thought Stream process, or prefer to do face-to-face meetings,” she said.

Governance and school closures were top issues at the meetings, and concerns from residents on the sustainability of Rossland centred on those.

“There are some things that aren’t going to be a surprise to the public, so one of the things that people are saying drives sustainability in Rossland is K-12,” she said.

“The other is governance. People’s ideas how to address both schools and governance are quite different.”

So she said they are more looking at direction than anything else at the moment.

“What we need is to get direction from the community,” she said.

The Visions to Action plan, which the commission is a part of, was first put together through a public input process from 2006-08.

It took in ideas from the community, and set some precedence not only for Rossland, but the whole area, such as the Rossland Energy Diet.

The city then brought in the commission to lead the way, as it felt it was beyond its scope.

Since then, the commission has made quite an impact on the community.

For instance, the Rossland Energy Diet, a partnership with Fortis BC, helped to drastically lower Rossland’s energy levels.

The initiative was undertaken as a means to lessen the city’s total consumption since it ran the highest in the region.

Of course that had a lot to do with being a city in the mountains, with a high number of older homes.

The fact, though, that Rossland was able to see the significant drop is a good measuring stick for what could be possible in many Kootenay towns.

Another initiative is the Family Friendly Rossland coalition, which looked at what the community currently offers, and what its gaps and weaknesses are. Before the study, there wasn’t much data available to try and quantify those results.

The meetings were the start to Rossland’s chance to set the future goals of sustainability.

For more from the commission, check out its website.