A sustainable future topic of round-table

‘BE BARRIERE’ was the slogan at the Tuesday, Jan. 18, Barriere Integrated Community Sustainability Plan action plan round-table held at Municipal Hall in the Ridge.

Thirty-eight participants took part in the District of Barriere’s inaugural Integrated Sustainability Plan round-table event on Tuesday

Thirty-eight participants took part in the District of Barriere’s inaugural Integrated Sustainability Plan round-table event on Tuesday

‘BE BARRIERE’ was the slogan at the Tuesday, Jan. 18, Barriere Integrated Community Sustainability Plan action plan round-table held at Municipal Hall in the Ridge.

Thirty-eight area stakeholders joined together under Focus Corporation’s facilitators Jason Niles and Richard Giele, concerning the future of Barriere.

“This is a perfect cross section of the community,” said sustainability planner Jason Niles as he greeted the participants, “It brings smiles to my face. Many of you are in leadership positions and know what’s needed in the community. Now we’re going to work to bring it all together.”

Participants included municipal and provincial government officials and representatives, area contractors and businesses, service groups and organizations, tourism, mining, and environment representatives, Barriere Employment, Barriere Chamber of Commerce, Interior Health, the Fire Department, Simpcw First Nation, Community Futures, and area youth.

The purpose of the roundtable was to give the community an opportunity to come together in an informal space, to offer feedback on two key components of the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) and the Official Community Plan (OCP) plan process for the District of Barriere.

“We can help you [the community] guide the process, but ultimately it’s up to you to guide your future,” said Niles, “How do you go from today to a desired future?”

The participants were given the task of validating draft policies and implementation measures; and creating a strategic action plan and developing a long-term community practice towards sustainability planning.

Giele noted, “Quite a bit of previous work has been done beforehand, and we have had really good input from the youth level. Today a collaboration and joint effort will form some sort of consensus from all involved.”

Throughout the day the key community stakeholders co-created short, medium and long term implementation actions.

Both positive and negative brainstorming were part of the assignments, followed by problem solving and actions to be implemented.

Topics such as transportation, infrastructure, tourism, parks, senior’s housing, water quality and accessibility, disaster management, environmentally sound practices, green energy, first responders, communication and technology, supportive housing, food sustainability, and more were all looked at in depth.

”There has to be money to make things happen, and if you are using your money, are you going to get a return on your investment?” Niles told the participants who were creating sustainable scenarios for the community.

The facilitators noted that the input and results of the roundtable will now be reviewed by Focus Corporation, compiled, and then returned to the District of Barriere for discussion, and or approval.

“Jason and I are blown away by the great positive energy of the group and look forward to using the action plan items created as the foundation of our finalized ICSP Action Plan,” said Giele.

At the end of the afternoon a short video was shown of interviews with Barriere youth. It is called ‘Children of the Dragon’, and Barriere Secondary students Kayla Hollowaychuk and Megan Huber are featured as they talk about what youth would like to see in the community. The participants were very impressed with the video and it can be viewed by going to http://focusprojects.ca/barriere/gallery_vid.html

Niles congratulated everyone on being part of the first successful ICSP Round-Table Event for the community of Barriere. “We are excited with the results from the day and a full summary will be posted online by mid next week,” said Niles,  “With a total of 38 participants, an incredible amount of interest was shown towards this long-term collaborative approach of community development for Barriere. We thank you again for your respective dialogue and positive energy during the day’s activities.”