Sylvan Lake plans for the future

Sylvan Lake plans for the future

Updated Municipal Sustainability Plan sets goals for community improvements by 2028

The Sylvan Lake of 2028 could be a much different community should the ambitious targets be met in an updated Municipal Sustainability Plan.

Town council approved the plan — which includes specific targets and outcomes in a variety of categories such as healthy environment, community well-being and economic resiliency Monday.

The plan updates a version adopted in 2010, said town communications officer Joanne Gaudet.

“It was kind of a redevelopment of the existing one,” she said. “We’re revisiting the former plan because a lot can happen in 10 years, especially with technology.”

Gaudet said because specific outcomes are envisioned, the town has taken steps to ensure that the plan is regularly reviewed and progress measured.

“A lot of times people say we have plans and objectives and there’s no real data to back it up, or a measurable component,” she said.

Steering committee members behind the plan took a close look at the “current realities as well as what could potentially be reached in 10 years.”

The sustainability plan will be reviewed regularly and implementation strategy covering the next three years — to mesh with the town’s three-year budgeting process — is already in the works.

Many of the goals are very specific. An objective under the healthy environment section involves reducing per capita water usage to seven cubic metres a month. Another target involves increasing the urban forest canopy by 10 per cent.

Under community well-being, one target is to reduce family violence cases by 10 per cent. Other targets are more general, such as ensuring emergency services are maintained or improved, or providing more youth relationship-building opportunities.

Economic targets include a tax split of 85 per cent residential and 15 per cent non-residential and reducing the downtown vacancy rate to 15 per cent or lower.

Gaudet said the plan compiles and builds on the work done to create other plans, such as the arts and culture and social master plans, and an economic development directive.

“A lot of the goals we’ve got come from those.”

Public input was a major component of the background work. A block party in June drew 400, who were encouraged to rank sustainability priorities through a “dotmocracy” exercise that involved participants using stickers to indicate their support for initiatives. Other feedback came through a web-based survey and a public open house.

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