What is Sustainability?
Sustainability, in a broad sense, is the capacity to maintain a certain process or state. Sustainability has become a complex term that can be applied to almost every facet of life on Earth, particularly the many different levels of biological organization, such as; wetlands, prairies and forests and is expressed in human organization concepts, such as; eco-villages, eco-municipalities, sustainable cities, and human activities and disciplines, such as; sustainable agriculture, sustainable architecture and renewable energy.
Since the 1980s, the idea of human sustainability has become increasingly associated with the integration of economic, social and environmental spheres. In 1989, the United Nations Brundtland Commission articulated what has now become a widely accepted definition of sustainability:
The classic definition
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
– Brundtland, 1987; Our Common Future, The World Commission on Environment and Development.
An adapted definition for Antigonish as a Leading Sustainable Community
“A dynamic process which enables all people to realise their potential and improve their quality of life in ways which simultaneously protect and enhance the Earth’s life support systems.”
– Porritt, 2000; Forum for the Future.
Integrated Community Sustainability Plan
The federal government has committed to transfer funds equivalent to a portion of the federal excise tax on gasoline to municipalities. This transfer has now become permanent. The federal government and Nova Scotia entered into a Municipal Funding Agreement which set out the terms and conditions of the program. As a requirement for this funding, municipalities will prepare and submit Integrated Community Sustainability Plans (ICSP) by 2010.
The Integrated Community Sustainability Plan is a long term plan (20 to 25 years) that focuses on identifying issues currently facing municipalities and their communities under the four pillars of environment, economy, culture and society. The ICSP process empowers communities to address current and future needs and propose solutions, while embedding municipal infrastructure requirements within these broader strategies. The areas of focus will be vast and may exceed 50 in number. While these areas of focus will include issues local to the various districts in the County, some general examples of topics that will need to considered: Mitigation/Adaptation for Climate Change, Protection of Ecological Assets, Renewable Energy, Municipal Energy Efficiency, Source Water Protection and Conservation, Food Security, Emergency Plans, Business Attraction and Retention, Tourism Planning and Heritage Protection, Arts and Culture, Affordable Housing, Active Transportation and Transit Strategy. Some of these areas will overlap with Provincial Statements of Interest and with other municipalities in the region since many of the challenges faced are similar.
The development of the ICSP for the County commenced in January 2008 and was completed in October 2009. The ICSP was adopted and endorsed by council in March, 2010.
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Tammy Feltmate, Sustainability Co-ordinator
285 Beech Hill Road
RR 6 Stn Main
Antigonish NS B2G 0B4
Phone: (902) 863-1117
Fax: (902) 863-5751