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Sustainability must be practised: student

The District of Squamish needs to connect the community to sustainable development if Smart Growth principles are to work, says Kimberley Armour.

The District of Squamish needs to connect the community to sustainable development if Smart Growth principles are to work, says Kimberley Armour. The local masters student is writing her thesis on motivating sustainable development action in Squamish."There has been a lot of sustainable planning but not much action," said Armour. "My findings suggest the biggest things creating this problem are both leadership and involvement."Armour will be presenting her thesis at Gelato Carina on Cleveland Avenue Wednesday (Oct. 29) at 7 p.m., and she hopes members of council, district staff and the community will attend to join discussion, answer questions about barriers and discuss solutions towards sustainability. The district is making Smart Growth initiatives, such as the newly minted anti-idling law and the three-phase waste management plan; however, because there is a lack in communication between leadership and community, nothing is being implemented, said Armour."The community is frustrated that nothing is being done by the district, meanwhile the district is upset they are not being supported by the community," said Armour.To motivate sustainable development action, Armour said she has come up with a list of feasible recommendations backed by research and interviews with district staff and community leaders for council to take into account.Some of her ideas include hiring a Sustainability Co-ordinator to provide support, information and networking for community groups."The co-ordinator would act as a liaison between the district and community, broadening communication," said Armour.She also suggests embarking on a communication/education campaign that emphasizes employment opportunities in eco-based tourism. Armour said the community values recreation and environment, so the district should encourage jobs such as mountain bike trail guides, backcountry ski guides and hiking guides. This way, she said, both the district and the townspeople will benefit from an increase in tourism economy as well as a growing respect and internal motivation for working in the community's interests. "My biggest finding in this thesis is that we all want the same things but there hasn't been enough collaboration. We need to embrace our commonalities," said Armour.Armour has been working on her thesis for three years and says that because Squamish is constantly evolving, her work has likewise been in constant motion."This presentation is essentially the jump-off point. Let's open up an opportunity for discussion and keep that momentum going," said Armour. Wednesday's presentation is free but Armour is asking attendees to RSVP at [email protected].

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