A draft framework for the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) is nearing completion and will be available soon for review and feedback by Williams Lake community members.  The ICSP Framework, based on The Natural Step planning process and Whistler2020, includes Descriptions of Success for the future, Descriptions of Current Reality, and a set of priority actions to get Williams Lake from the present state to their desired future.  The ten priority strategy areas within the ICSP Framework are listed below.

As a result of the “Williams Lake: Imagine our Future” process undertaken to date, the City Council adopted a Sustainability Declaration, which calls for the use of The Natural Step sustainability principles and smart growth land use principles in the evaluation of future plans and policy initiatives.

The Whistler Centre for Sustainability (WCS) team is now using the directions of the Sustainability Declaration and the ICSP Framework to update the community’s Official Community Plan (OCP) to support the lCSP vision.  In early March, the WCS team led a staff ICSP workshop, land use suitability mapping surveys and focus groups, as well as an Innovators Summit, which identified ways for Williams Lake to move toward sustainable development practices and a sustainable economy.

As the summer progresses, the WCS team will incorporate the land use suitability mapping and Innovators Summit feedback into the preparation of alternative land use concepts and other OCP policies intended to move the ICSP directions from concepts to implementation measures. These land use plans and policies will be reviewed by the community before being brought to Council for their review and approval of the City’s first sustainability-based OCP.

Priority Strategy Areas within the ICSP Framework:

1. Lively Downtown.  Our community’s heart and soul is our downtown: it is a vibrant, distinct and welcoming place for community gatherings and social interactions and acts as the retail, cultural, entertainment, and social centre of the city and it is the principle place for the exchange of locally produced goods and services.

2. Local Food and Agriculture.  Our City models a regional food system that is resilient, locally-focused, healthy, and contributes to the overall enjoyment, development and health of our community, its individual members and our local ecosystems.

3. Cherished Local Ecosystems.  Our community is widely recognized as a model for demonstrating how a community can contribute to healthy ecosystems while being economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

4. Active and Convenient Transportation.  Our multimodal transportation system provides access to people, places, goods and services in a manner that is convenient, safe, affordable, sustainable, efficient, enjoyable, and contributes to the success of all other community priority areas.

5. Affordable Housing and Livable Neighbourhoods.  Our neighbourhoods are friendly, convenient, safe, affordable, sustainable and attractive and provide an abundance of opportunities for social interactions with attractive and affordable housing options.

6. Resilient Economy.  Our economy relies on resource-based industries, the strengths and assets of our local community and innovation. We are committed to designing our local economy to fulfill community-held strategic goals for the future and the principles of sustainability, resulting in prosperity for all community members.

7. Partnering with First Nations.  As a community, we celebrate our cultural diversity and resiliency, and in so doing, we honour and respect the long history, traditional knowledge and unique contributions of First Nations to our way of life in Williams Lake. We support the preservation and cultivation of First Nations’ cultures, traditions, resources and land for all generations.

8. Distinctive Arts and Culture. Our diverse arts, cultures and heritages are recognized and celebrated as integral to our community’s identity, attracting new residents and visitors to Williams Lake.

9. World Class Recreation.  Recreation opportunities in Williams Lake are accessible, affordable and innovative, engaging all members of our community, as well as providing for diverse visitor needs.

10. Social Well-Being.  Our community members have a healthy quality of life and share a common commitment to the health, well-being and happiness of our children and their families. Community members of all ages, life stages and lifestyles feel connected to the community and their participation in the community is valued. Williams Lake is recognized as one of the most desirable small towns for families to live.

By Mark Allison