University of Alberta Launches Canadian Sustainability Plan Inventory

The University of Alberta’s Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities (ACSRC) announced on January 28 the launch of the Canadian Sustainability Plan Inventory (CSPI). This searchable online inventory is the most comprehensive collection of sustainability plans in Canada. The CSPI can be accessed here.  Sustainability in rural communities of Canada has received increased attention at the local and national scales. Canada’s Federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) made sustainability planning a key part of infrastructure and socio-economic development of communities across Canada. Slated to ultimately invest approximately $13 billion in sustainable municipal infrastructure such as transit, waste management, water and green energy by 2015, the GTF also provided support to municipalities for the development of Integrated Community Sustainability Plans (ICSPs).

Many communities have now completed ICSPs or a provincial variant and these represent a wide range of approaches, toolkits, strategies and content within Alberta and from across the country. As such, there is no single solution or model for sustainability planning. Indeed, there is considerable variation in emphases among the targeted dimensions of sustainability and these emphases vary by region and by population size. This inventory provides a means for rural communities, researchers, and development practitioners to access how other communities from across Canada have approached sustainability planning in terms of process, content and areas of concentration.

With the launch of the CSPI, the ACSRC hopes to provide a valuable resource of previous ICSPs to rural communities, an up-to-date source of information and a mechanism that may support rural sustainability as communities shift from plans to implementation. We hope this inventory and sharing of ICSPs will foster collaboration and information exchange among the many and diverse rural communities in Canada, so that they may learn from and support each other in their quest for sustainability.