Last Monday (Dec. 10), city council aborted a year-long program helping Abbotsford develop a sustainable future. The project, in its final draft stages, and after many studies and community consultations with business, industry, agriculture, and hundreds of citizen participants, was funded with grants that we will now be required to return out of taxpayers’ pockets. We may also lose millions in provincial gas tax credits accessible only to communities that have sustainability policies in place.
That council, after many years of acknowledging the importance of integrated planning, and after developing an official community plan reflecting the values inherent in sustainable principles, would turn its back on a supporting and guiding vision is simply unbelievable.
We are only beginning to understand that environmental health is just as important, just as fragile, in fact, interconnected to social and economic health. We can only make progress toward a truly sustainable future Abbotsford when we learn how to grow our city and economy without destroying our natural capital (our air, water, soil, forests) and our natural environment.
With very little cost to our city, we could have acquired a valuable instruction manual to help encourage us toward a prosperous, healthy future, setting an example for other communities in the Fraser Valley and beyond. I can only hope council made this decision without enough consultation. I can only hope they will reconsider.
Editor’s note: City council reversed its decision on the matter, and has now brought the Community Sustainability Planning Initiative back for consideration.