“Sustainability planning means using a different and more comprehensive lens for economic development,” asserts Susan Smith, the Executive Director of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce. Smith is one of the sixteen CSAT – Community Sustainability Action Team – members of Imagine Invermere, the community’s long-range integrated sustainability plan. The CSAT dedicated their time over six intensive months to help create the vision for a successful and sustainable Invermere, and to determine a number of priority actions that community organizations, businesses and the municipality need to take in order to move their community towards its desired future.

Imagine Invermere identified long term goals for the community to strive for in the following areas: buildings and sites; community and individual health; economy and work; education, arts, culture and recreation; energy; food; land use and natural areas; transportation; and water and waste.

According to Smith, Imagine Invermere helped to identify some key long-term goals for economic success while ensuring the community and the environment thrive as well. As a result of Imagine Invermere, the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce has agreed to be a partner in the ongoing implementation of the plan, and already in its first year, has agreed to take on the action to “provide training and professional development courses for local businesses in support of achieving the sustainability objectives.”

Way to go Invermere! You are creating a fabulous example of community planning in action!

By Shannon Gordon