By Kristian Rasmussen
Invermere’s council is looking to the future, introducing a six-step plan to improve the community by the end of 2013. The plan is just the start of a larger 20-year vision for the community, with long and short-term goals to complete by 2030.
It all started when the District of Invermere revealed their Integrated Community Sustainability Plan last summer. The plan, now rebranded Imagine Invermere 2030, is designed to guide the social, economic, and environmental framework of the municipality into the year 2030.
“We want Invermere to be a beautiful, walkable community that has a resilient economy,” said Gerry Taft, Mayor of Invermere. Imagine Invermere will create realistic steps to achieving the goal by 2030, he added.
This and next year will be filled with a series of six initiatives. The first of these will be the implementation of a clean energy project and bringing in a signage and information program for non-motorized access within the community. Also on the agenda for 2012 and 2013 is a review of how to best use the space in Invermere.
A survey of housing stock in Invermere, the creation of a community composting program and the development of a vehicle-free strategy for downtown events are the finals goals to achieve before 2014.
“I think that one of the key arguments for [long-term planning] is that without a vision of where you want to go, and without breaking that down into steps and a map to get there, you are just idling and treading water,” Mayor. Taft said. “Another reality is that a lot of the new grants that are coming from the federal government require communities to have sustainability plans done.”
At the regular meeting of council on July 10th, council discussed the first steps in the 20-year scheme, removing two of the original action items proposed for 2012 and 2013 for further deliberation.
Taken out of the mix were starting work to create partnerships with community groups in order to create a multi-use community complex, and investigating the establishment of an economic development and sustainability officer for Invermere.
“This action list is meant to pick the low hanging fruit and the multi-use complex is not exactly low hanging fruit,” said Paul Denchuk, Invermere councillor, at the July 10th meeting. “The multi-use action item scares me because I think it sends the wrong message to the community that this is happening. I don’t want us to miss out on opportunities because we are focused on lofty goals.”
Councillor Justin Atterbury disagreed.
“I think it is important to note that we changed the name of the plan to Imagine Invermere 2030 because people realize that it is a 20-year process,” he said. “I realize that we are far off, but we need the steps now to hopefully aim in that direction.”
The Imagine Invermere 2030 plan has been created in partnership with the Whistler Sustainability Centre, a non-profit planning group. The District of Invermere used the Sustainability Centre’s template, but relied heavily on local focus groups and public feedback sessions to generate content specific to the local community, Mayor Taft said.
The scheme is separate from the Official Community Plan because it focuses on the social, economic, and environmental side of the town whereas an OCP deals with planning and land use management for the area, Mayor Taft added.
For more info: http://imagineinvermere.ca.