Sustainability plan lacks substance

Well we now have a plan designed to make Edmonton one of Canada’s most livable cities.

Well we now have a plan designed to make Edmonton one of Canada’s most livable cities.

According to the city’s website, “This 10-year strategic plan redefines local government as a caring entity that creates a diverse and inclusive city by connecting people, creating communities where people can age in place and actively nurturing an arts, culture and athletic community.”

That’s quite a lot of words to be packed into a single sentence, but there is nothing there one can really argue with. Who doesn’t want those things to be characteristic of the city in which they live? However, the six goals outlined in the plan and the objectives that follow from them are a little more debatable.

Goal Three of the plan is for Edmonton to be a caring inclusive and affordable community. Caring and inclusive are nice touchy feely issues. Affordability is more concrete and much easier to measure. One of the objectives of Goal Three is for Edmonton to reduce physical and financial barriers to housing, transportation, libraries, recreation, social and leisure opportunities for residents.

I have a pretty good idea how the city can reduce the physical barriers, how it is going to go about reducing the financial barriers is another matter. According to the plan, doing so is all about partnership and advocacy. Who would have thought that is all it takes to redress the inequities inherent in a capitalist system?

Goal Six of the plan, called Edmonton is a sustainable city, is particularly interesting.

It commits Edmonton to creating a city that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable city. Lots and lots of good words here. But I wanted to see something related to the restriction of growth.

The environmental and economic sustainability of our city will not be achievable if we continue to expand ever outward.

I would have been far more impressed if there was a strategic direction which basically said, enough of these new suburbs, we cannot afford the infrastructure costs associated with creating that kind of housing.

Since we have a municipal election coming up in October, I think it would be good idea for all of us to know what this plan says and to determine what we like or don’t like about it. That way, when someone knocks on your door and asks for your vote, you can ask if he/she supports this plan and why along with how they see it being implemented.

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