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Information sessions related to social sustainability strategy complete

Burnaby’s senior social planner says public has been ‘very engaged’ in strategy
Wednesday April 13, 2011 — Kristian Partington

The final open house and information session related to Burnaby’s draft Social Sustainability Strategy wrapped up on Monday night, and the city’s senior social planner, Joan Selby, says feedback has been very positive.

The four town-hall meetings drew people from community members who were all “very engaged in the discussions,” says Selby, who introduced the draft in a 45-minute presentation before opening up the floor to discussion.

The draft strategy is a comprehensive document outlining the city’s vision for a cohesive community that meets the needs of its people and provides opportunity for all to reach their potential.

Selby says the social strategy is one of three sustainability measures the city is committed to implementing, the others being economic and environmental. She likens the three to an intertwined braid that together will help enhance the livability of the province’s third largest city.

“The one missing piece of the braid has been a plan or strategy around the social piece, so when you weave them all together, you’ve got complete sustainability,” she says.

City staff, led by Selby, worked alongside a steering committee of 25 citizens of varying backgrounds to develop the draft strategy, and public consultations were a major consideration for the team.

“One of the most exciting things for me was getting the community involved in the process to develop this right at the front end,” says Selby.

Along with the steering committee, an additional 70 citizens were invited to make up six working groups that addressed specific social issues separately.

“People were very gratified to be in right at the ground level; they’re the ones who gave us over 800 ideas for possible actions,” she says.

The strategy directly reflects the recommendations of these working groups, says Selby, and one of three major pillars of the document is community inclusion for all citizens.

Now that public consultations are complete, that feedback will go to City Hall, and Selby council says council may ratify the plan as early as June.

The next step will be putting the plan into action through a wide network of citizenry, businesses, non-profit organizations and the municipality.

“Definitely partners are going to have to step up to the plate to make this document come alive,” she says.

Visit http://www.burnaby.ca/cityhall/boards/ssssc.html for more information on the sustainability strategy.

For a related story click here.

If you have feedback, feel free to contact 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.

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