May 2015 Update

Well folks, it's here at last - that spring weather we've all been waiting for, almost spilling into summer in its enthusiasm to get things going!  

And with that start to the warmer season, it probably comes as no surprise that our CSN calendar is bursting at the seams with gardening related courses and events.  We'd like to give a shout out to long-time CSN member Helping Nature Heal and the Harrison Lewis Centre for their fantastic offering of educational opportunities - check them out!

The CSN Events & Engagement team is also pleased to announce our next members event: we hope you'll join us on May 20th for an inspiring discussion on the topic of "local prosperity", inspired by the recent conference in Annapolis Royal.

There's lots to look forward to and get active with.  We hope to see you soon!


A hearty welcome to those who joined in the past month:
You can find out more about these groups and individuals, including what sustainability products, services, interests and ideas they have, by viewing their profiles on the Network website.

Remember, Network membership is 100% FREE and open to families & individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations and community groups, and institutions & government departments.  As a general rule of thumb, members are welcome to join from Bridgewater AND area – that means anywhere in Lunenburg County.

Upcoming Events
Know of any relevant events to add to this FREE calendar? This is your chance to inform people about all the great things going on around here!  Posting an event is easy: go to the Events section of the website, click on "submit an event", and fill in the form. One of our moderators will review the information and post the event if it meets our general criteria.  If you have any questions about what kinds of events you can post, please contact us.

Local Prosperity Conference: Bringing the Conversation Home

How can local communities take charge of their own economic future? One that leads people to meaningful and dignified work, while respecting nature’s capital? A group of Lunenburg County delegates and speakers who attended theLocal Prosperity Conference (April 9 - 12) are keen to share what they learned about these and other important questions at that event:
  • Robert Cervelli, Centre for Local Prosperity
  • Andrew Button, Mashup Lab
  • Margaret Drescher, Windhorse Farm
  • Gregg Clause, Milklake Shambhala Retreat Centre
  • Annabelle Singleton, The Port Grocer
  • Michael Graves, Bridgewater Town Councillor

Find out about proven and practical examples of local economic solutions that could benefit our home communities on the South Shore.  Folks like local economist Michael Shuman (pictured left) and other leading thinkers and doers in this field offered many fantastic examples.  More importantly, come be part of the solution!  Light refreshments will be served. Click here to download the event poster.

Curious about the meeting but want to learn more about the event first? See the conference website, watch a video by a local media source, and read a conference summary by FarmWorks (one of the organizations featured during the conference).

This meeting is being organized as part of the regular CSN members' events.  Come meet other CSN members and share ideas about this important topic.  Non-members welcome!

Inspiration from the National Sustainable Communities Conference

I had the good fortune to attend the national Sustainable Communities Conference hosted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, from February 10 to 12, 2015, in London, Ontario. I attended a number of information sessions and presentations, on diverse topics such as:
  • Community Energy Planning and Energy Solutions
  • Planning for Healthy and Sustainable Communities
  • Successful and Innovate Community Sustainability Projects 
  • Sustainable Rural and Local Economic Development 
  • Sustainability Through Continuous Learning and Partnerships with Academia 
I wrote up detailed notes from the conference and shared them with a few CSN members.  As as result, they encouraged me to circulate them to the broader CSN community by means of this newsletter.  So without further ado, you can find my full conference notes here.

I was also asked to include an excerpt from my notes, to give you a sense of the kind of information the conference covered.  So I decided to include the following section on successful community sustainability initiatives from around Canada, which I thought was a suitable topic for a network such as this.  These communities were all winners of the 2015 Sustainable Community Awards ceremony hosted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities:

  • Brownfields Plan - In the City of Langley, BC, a new Brownfield Redevelopment Strategy has delivered $192 million in new construction and 850 new jobs. 
  • Brownfields Project - In a departure from the conventional "dig and dump" approach to contaminated soil, the City of Kingston, ON, chose an innovative underground filtering and cleaning technology to stop the flow of groundwater contaminants from Emma Martin Park into the Cataraqui River. 
  • Energy Plan - The City of Surrey, BC, has developed a Community Climate Action Strategy (CCAS) designed to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. First is the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP), Surrey's blueprint for actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve air quality and decrease energy consumption. 
  • Energy Program - Homeowners in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), NS, can take advantage of municipal financing through the Solar City program to install solar-powered water heating systems, lower their energy bills, and reduce water consumption. 
  • Neighbourhood Development Plan - The Montréal Borough of Saint-Laurent, QC, has begun implementing a redevelopment plan that will create a mixed-use, urban neighbourhood within a one-kilometre radius around the current Bois-Franc train station and the future intermodal (train/subway) station. 
  • Transportation Project - Over 1.25 million bike trips have been counted on Laurier Avenue West since the City of Ottawa, ON, implemented the province's first downtown segregated bicycle lanes in July 2011. 
  • Waste Program - The Town of Cape St. George, NL, is a leader among small rural municipalities with its comprehensive curbside recycling program and resourceful approach to reuse and composting. 
  • Water Program - A recognized leader in sustainable water management, the Town of Okotoks, AB, has achieved one of the lowest per capita gross water consumption rates in North America through implementing its Water Conservation, Efficiency and Productivity (CEP) Plan. What is remarkable is that water consumption has dropped dramatically despite an unbelievable 50% growth in size of the community over the same time period.

Best wishes!
Leon de Vreede, CSN administrator

Community Sustainability Network - Bridgewater & Area

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