Earlier this year, Ajax Council demonstrated its continued commitment to making the Town a leader in sustainability by adopting a Strategic Plan that identifies the development of a community-based sustainability plan as a priority.
The Town of Ajax has now started work on an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) that will serve as a long-term plan, developed in consultation with community members. It will ultimately provide direction for the community to achieve environmental, cultural/social, and economic sustainability goals.
“The objective of the ICSP is to facilitate the transition of the Town of Ajax toward a sustainable future by improving the quality of life, including ecological, cultural, political, institutional, social, and economic components without leaving a burden on future generations,” says Tracey Chala, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator for the Town.
The ICSP will incorporate various components of the Town’s existing planning documents and plans that have been developed and approved by Council in recent years (Official Plan, Urban Forest Management Strategy, Economic Development Strategy, Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan etc…) The Plan will develop sustainability initiatives through an innovative, extensive consultation process, involving a wide range of community stakeholders.
The development of the ICSP will be a collaborative process that seeks to integrate and to share knowledge and solutions. The Plan will consider action-oriented sustainability initiatives that will impact not only municipal corporate operations (municipal departments and municipal service areas), but also the operation of organizations, institutions, businesses, industries and homeowners within the Town of Ajax. Simply put, it will be a community owned and municipally initiated plan.
The Town will assume the primary role in planning and coordinating the ICSP process, and community involvement is imperative. As the leading organization for the ICSP, the Town of Ajax mandate is to coordinate the process as well as recruit citizen involvement and leadership throughout the Plan’s development. The result will be a made-in-Ajax plan customized for the needs of the Town and its residents.
In addition to the long-term social, economic and environmental benefits sustainability brings, the creation of the ICSP has a more immediate financial benefit to the Town and its efforts to be a cleaner and greener place. Since 2005, Canadian municipalities have been receiving Federal Gas Tax funding to enable municipal investment in eligible environmentally sustainable infrastructure that achieves cleaner air, cleaner water or lowers greenhouse gas emissions. In accordance with the Federal Gas Tax Agreement, municipalities are obliged to demonstrate the principles of an ICSP in order to receive those funds.
In September 2011, the Town of Ajax awarded the contract for the creation of the plan to LURA Consulting. The plan will be developed over 18 months with extensive public consultation planned so please contact us if you want to be involved in making Ajax a better place for future generations!