It’s a commission with a new mission.
A new bylaw is being drafted for the city’s Sustainability Commission, just a few weeks after council contentiously cut its manager, and moved the duties of the arm’s length organization in-house to City Hall.
Although the bylaw does not change the scope of the commission—to help guide the implementation of the city’s Strategic Sustainability Plan (SSP)—it does get rid of its more structured formalities, and increases the size of the commission itself.
Drafted in conjunction with the Sustainability Commission, the new bylaw is deemed to be more flexible and less cumbersome and will hopefully aid in attracting new committee members. The commission worked with city staff to make it a friendlier, more common sense bylaw, said commission chair Terry Miller.
“Our ability to be flexible with who we bring into the commission and how many we bring into the commission is improved,” he said.
The commission currently consists of seven community members and two city councillors, a number that will increase to 10 community members.
Although commission members were disappointed with the loss of the manager position and the decision to move in-house, there is resolve to continue the work under the SSP, Miller explained.
“The commission is as strong as its task forces. They are the group who do most of the visible work to move Rossland towards the SSP,” he said.
“Right now, we have the Energy Task force going strong. The Economic Development group is providing an important function, and the Hub of Learning Task force is enthusiastic, although that group is in the early stages of development.”
But Miller saw some limits to the new format that could be exposed over time. Council liaison to the committee, Kathy Moore, was also skeptical of the pending new in-house format.
“I think it will be hard to get done as much as the commission got done before,” she said. “Once you bring it into the city, city staff have a lot more constraints on their time, and when they can do their work.”
Council’s other liaison, Jill Spearn, said the new bylaw will allow for more members on commission, and more people potentially working on tasks on behalf of the commission.
“It remains to be seen how it will go,” said Spearn. “I will, as I’m sure many other people will as well, be carefully watching to see if we accomplish as much as the commission has done in the past.”
And if it fails to flourish hopefully there will be opportunity in the future to have discussion on it, said Spearn.
“It doesn’t mean in the future there couldn’t be a manager,” Moore added. “Some future council could bring that back.”
Strategic Sustainability Plan
In an attempt to ensure ongoing community sustainability, the City of Rossland initiated the Visions to Actions sustainability planning process in 2007; in early 2008 city council adopted the resulting plan.
Ultimately, the Visions to Action Strategic Sustainability Plan will be a part of an ongoing process that will evolve and grow.
Currently, the plan identifies 11 focus areas (encompassing social, environmental and economic issues), their end-state goals and the strategic actions that will help the community achieve these end-state goals.
The plan also describes a preliminary implementation plan, indicators of sustainability and an outline for the collection of baseline data.
Source: Sustainability Commission