On Saturday, March 24th, 2012, representatives from a number of green organizations gathered at the Living with Lakes Center to discuss topics of common interest to Sudbury’s “green” community. Feedback from participants was generally very positive; a participant even went so far to say it was “inspiring to see so many people committed to making a difference”.
Following the meeting, the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury proposed some action plans for each priority, to be implemented by green groups, individuals, and the Greater City of Sudbury.
The SCU has supported the priorities identified at the gathering and will be attending the Fall Green Gathering scheduled for October 17, 2012. This gathering will focus on finalizing action plans, hearing what each group is planning to do for the coming year, and discussing how we can best coordinate and complement each other.
A recap of the March meeting is described below. If you want to propose a priority or action plan that you believe should be addressed in the coming year, please let us know so we can include it on our list of possible events and campaigns.
Green Gathering Spring 2012
Development of Priorities
Participants were grouped by main topic of interest, and discussed priorities and actions for the coming year. These were proposed to the group as a whole and participants used ‘dotmocracy’ to choose their overall priorities from among all those identified.
After some discussion, the group agreed that four top priorities had emerged, with an additional emphasis on engaging and empowering citizens to make a difference.
The table below details the overall priorities that emerged from the exercise. Note that the participant list contains in parenthesis other committees, panels, or organizations to which the participant belongs.
|Local Food and Agriculture||Jane Schmidt: Eat Local Sudbury
Allison Muckle: FarmON.; National Farmers’Union
Ty Cumming: Social Planning Council
Bridget King: Sudbury District Health Unit, (Sudbury Food Connection Network)
|Education and Skill Development
Buying, preserving, growing local food
|Natural Environment||Naomi Grant: Green Space Advisory Panel, (Friends of the Roxborough Greenbelt, Wolf Lake Coalition, Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury)
Will Kershaw: Green Space Advisory Panel, (Ministry of Natural Resources)
Peter Beckett: Junction Creek Stewardship Committee,Sudbury Naturalists Club, Rainbow Routes, VETAC – Regreening Advisory Panel (Green Space Advisory Panel)
Franco Mariotti: Junction Creek Stewardship Committee (Green Space Advisory Panel, Wolf Lake Coalition, Sudbury Naturalists)
|Protection of natural areas + implementation of green space plan|
|Water||Shannon Dennie: Junction Creek Stewardship Committee, (The Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance, Friends of the Roxborough Greenbelt)
Charles Ramcharan: Lakes Advisory Panel, (The Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance, biologist-lake water quality studies)
Sheri Purdon: Vermillion River Stewardship Committee
|Reduce the impact of development in the watershed|
|Transportation||Rachelle Niemela : Sudbury Cyclists Union (Friends of Sudbury Transit)
Jason Thibeault: Sudbury Cyclists Union (Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury)
Benjamin Reitzel Sustainable Mobility Advisory Panel
|Better on-road cycling infrastructure and maintenance of existing infrastructure.|
|“Big Picture”||Lilly Noble: Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, (The Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance, Lakes Advisory Panel, lake steward, Source Protection Committee)
Tamara Gagnon: reThink Green
Aaron Dent: reThink Green
Arik Theijsmeijer: reThink Green
During a networking lunch, other guests were invited to discuss topics of interest:
Wayne Hugli: Sudbury Horticultural Society, (VETAC Ugliest schoolyard contest)
Sarah King Gold: Myths and Mirrors community arts
Stephen Monet: Environmental Services (City of GreaterSudbury), EarthCare Sudbury, Biodiversity Partnership
Nick Benkovitch: Water and Wastewater (City of GreaterSudbury)
Sarah Williams and Brittany Rantala-Sykes: Laurentian University Sustainable Earth Club
It was agreed that participating groups would work together to promote and further the priorities identified at the meeting.
- Public outreach: The Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury agreed to develop a leaflet for distribution at public outreach activities. See the leaflet here: Leaflet. It was noted that outreach to schools would be important.
- Collaboration: Groups agreed to collaborate on activities such as the EcoTour on May 12, 2012.
- Speaking with a common voice: Groups agreed to speak with a common voice in advocating for the priorities, for example for the Official Plan Review and the 2013 Budget. The Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury agreed to be the contact point for common messages and collaborative efforts.
A number of priorities were also identified in terms of being most effective in all groups’ work, both individually and collectively. It was agreed to follow up on those priorities:
Effective public education and engagement: being effective in engaging the public, sharing information with the public, and seeing changes to ‘greener’ habits is a challenge for all groups. The Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, reThink Green, and EarthCare will follow up with Dr. David Pearson to partner on a workshop and resources.
Communicate, network, and collaborate more effectively among green groups. Suggestions include holding bi-annual Green Gatherings; submitting events and other information to the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury’s newsletter; submitting events to the reThink Green calendar; regularly liaise with other groups; facilitate coordination through a funded staff position for all groups.
Some interesting last thoughts pulled from some of the feedback provided by participants:
- Issues are becoming more challenging, and will require government and other involvements, as well as a lot of advocacy.
- All priorities are connected to each other.
- It’s important to continue to collaborate and network, as well as partner on events.
- It’s important to develop action plans.
- Wish lists include sharing limited resources with each other; one group acting as a central point of contact to build resources and expertise; a common activity calendar; a stable staff person to help all groups reach their common goals.