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News archive for February 25, 2014

Review of sustainability plans will cost $60,000

The city will spend $60,000 to review its sustainability plans, but it may never reach a state of Nirvana in striving for sustainability.

By Stephanie Waddell on February 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

Shannon Clohosey and Coun. Dave Stockdale

The city will spend $60,000 to review its sustainability plans, but it may never reach a state of Nirvana in striving for sustainability.

“Sustainability is a bit of a lens,” Shannon Clohosey, the city’s environmental sustainability manager, told council at its meeting Monday evening, as she described integrating sustainability goals into various city departments.

Clohosey spoke after Coun. Dave Stockdale questioned if spending on sustainability – much like the continual upgrades to the city’s computer system – is a “never-ending” expense.

He asked if there’s a point Nirvana will be reached.

The city had budgeted $40,000 to update its sustainability plans.

Last week, Clohosey proposed adding another $60,000 to the budget, bringing it to a total $100,000 to include a larger public engagement process heavily involving the work of a consultant.

On Monday evening, she came forward with an option council voted in favour of.

It’s a more hybrid alternative between the two that would take a little longer, be largely done by city staff but feature some consultant work and public consultation.

It will cost the city a total of $60,000 and come from its share of the federal gas tax.

Throughout the discussion leading to the vote, Stockdale questioned if the city had yet reached its goals in the Strategic Sustainability Plan (which outlines the city’s vision for becoming a sustainable community) and the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (which identifies infrastructure funding and maintenance priorities).

He stated that until he knew what had been accomplished, he was reluctant to push another plan forward.

“A lot of the objectives have been achieved,” Clohosey responded.

The city has done updates to the plans every couple of years, she noted, so one would have to be done this year if the review wasn’t going ahead.

The plans have been in place for more than five years, she pointed out. In that time, there has been some shifting of priorities for the city, she said.

A key example of that, Coun. Betty Irwin added, is the emphasis in the Solid Waste Action Plan on reusing and recycling rather than land-filling waste.

“To me, we have accomplished a lot under the sustainability plan(s),” she said, arguing that sustainability is not a “pie-in-the-sky” goal.

She suggested the city should add to the budget to find out what the public wants for a sustainable city.

Coun. John Streicker agreed, describing sustainability as an “over-arching” goal, a work in progress.

Things change over time, and it’s important to keep looking at the issue, he said.

Streicker said this is an opportunity for council – which often faces pressure to make short-term decisions – to focus on the long-term future of Whitehorse.

Meanwhile, Coun. Mike Gladish pointed out, the debate should not be on sustainability itself – with a review already approved in the capital budget – but rather on how to go about the review and whether to enrich funding for it.

Gladish later made the motion to spend $60,000 on the plan and go with the hybrid plan.

That version relies more heavily on staff while still providing a public engagement process.

Council was unanimous in its decision.

CommentsAdd a comment

Yukoner 2

Feb 25, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Blah Blah Blah that’s all I got out of that. And its going to cost more.

Bill Smith

Feb 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

What I got out of this is that creative ideas do not go over well with mayor and council.

They are a tough crowd especially Stockdale- maybe too many people sitting on council is not sustainable- and Nirvana in a civic setting, what is that all about.

June Jackson

Feb 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm

There really isn’t much meat in this.  At the rate our Council’s, (seems to be all of them down the historic road) throw money away on trails, consultants, SIMA, Whistle Bend, Range Road, circles, their own pay raises etc; sustainability is a joke, but at $100K, (40 + 60), nobody is laughing.

north_of_60

Feb 25, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Stop cloaking things in this green-washed cloak of sustainability.

Tell us what you want to do, how much it will cost and how it will benefit the City.  Do that without using buzz words and jargon like ‘sustainability’.  It always comes across like you’re trying to bamboozle and baffle us with bullfudge when you don’t speak plainly in common sense terms that actually mean something.

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