I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about a special policy that I am particularily proud of, that is; the Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan. This post is the first of a series that will give some context to this document, feature interesting excerpts, and my thoughts on what it means.
It was nine months ago that I was pounding the Pinawa pavement, asking the people to support me in my vision to build a more prosperous, sustainable, and healthy community. I believe that humans are not seperate from nature, and that connectedness with the environment is key to one’s wellness. Historically, the builders of Pinawa must have recognized this, as our beloved Ironwood Trail is a testament to the relationship between land, water, and society. My heart is in nature, when I walk, when I ski, when I row, when I sail, when I simply allow myself to be with the Earth. It is the recognition of this intrinsic relationship, that guides me in my life and in my work.
I am not alone. There are more and more people discovering the secret of Pinawa and choosing to lay their own roots here. Like me, they are attracted to the natural beauty that surrounds us all. They want to raise their family in a place that respects the environment and the right of the people to access it. They want to retire and live their golden years with fresh air and peaceful recreation. The citizens of Pinawa expect that their government will protect these interests.
We are all related to and respect everything in life. In our planning, we will consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.
The Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan (SNAP) is a new policy that sets out a number of strategies to guide the government’s actions. This plan will serve as a compass for defining future goals, measurements, and objectives. What the SNAP also does is act as a filter when government is considering new policy actions, that we consider the sustainability implications in whatever we do.
All strategies shall be based on the triple bottom line approach, considering environmental, social, and economic impacts.
As more people discover the secret of Pinawa, the demand for homes has grown. This, combined with rising housing prices in the Canadian market is driving the cost of moving to Pinawa out of range of many people. While we want to maintain our property value, we need to be worried about the gentrification of our community, where the price of housing becomes so high, regular middle class folks can’t afford to live here anymore.
Most of us recognize that we want to attract young people and entrepreneurs to Pinawa, but they need somewhere to live! Buying or building a single family detached home is not affordable for a single person or a young family anymore. Around Christmas the RCMP even contacted Council because they had a young officer with family assigned to our local station but couldn’t find anywhere to live! A senior citizen who needs to downsize their home shouldn’t be forced to move away from their community. We need affordable housing.
Establish a strategy to ensure a mixture of residential housing types including single-family dwellings, two-family dwellings, multi-family dwellings, apartments, 50+ housing, and supportive housing.
This is why I supported the Zoning By-Law ammendment to restrict short term rentals in Pinawa. In other hot tourist markets like Jasper, wealthy land owners would buy up residential property and use it for commercial enterprise. Not only would this cause disturbance for the local residents, but it would also reduce the stock of available housing, driving prices up further. This damages communities and throttles the actual commercial zone development that we want to see! We are now seeing a significant increase in investment interest for accomodation development in our commercial areas. I want to see new housing options in Pinawa, so that we can have healthy sustainable growth for all people.
Establish a strategy to encourage continued residential growth that includes measures specific to attraction of young families and attraction and retention of seniors.
I believe that people have the right to affordable housing. The old ways of urban sprawl will not serve cities in the future. We need to build dynamic, walkable, vibrant communties on a human scale. I want to live in a place where my neighbours come from all walks of life. Where we can meet up in the park or on the trails. Where we can safely ride a bike to the store. We ought to be a leader in sustainable urban development. This is how we foster reslience.
This post is part one of a multi part project on Sustainable Neighbourhoods. I will continue to advocate for progressive and creative solutions to the issues that affect our community. Thank you for being here!