The New Westminster Environmental Partners (NWEP) will be holding their first Urban Sustainability Forum on the evening of June 19th. The inaugural event will feature a series of prominent local experts who will explore social, environmental and economic sustainability issues and what City residents, businesses, institutions and government can to do to promote sustainability. There will also be a “town hall” discussion on what a sustainable New Westminster would look like and what priorities residents have.
“It’s important that we engage in this dialog with residents and key stakeholders on these vitally important issues to move the sustainability agenda forward in the city,” says Matthew Laird, spokesperson for NWEP.
In addition, New Westminster Environmental Partners is issuing the first of its Quarterly Sustainability Challenges to city council. This series of challenges will be practical, easily achieved actions in which the city can show leadership on issues of the environment. This quarter’s challenge is to conduct meaningful public consultation for the city proposed Green Action Plan.
The NWEP Urban Sustainability Forum will be held at the New Westminster Public Library on the evening of Tuesday June 19th from 7pm until 8:30pm.
With less than one month remaining before City staff has been directed by a unanimous New Westminster Council resolution to report on “the implementation of a comprehensive set of policies” for the City’s proposed Green Action Plan, NWEP is concerned no public consultation has been completed or scheduled. While environmental issues, and climate change in particular, are now the top priority issues for Canadians, New Westminster has been trailing other jurisdictions in adopting basic measures such as a greenhouse gas reduction strategy.
The proposed action plan has not been posted on the City’s web site and there are no references to the plan or opportunities for public input on the site.
“We had hoped to see more initiative on this issue after such a strong mandate being sent through the unanimous vote in January. The lack of any further information on the plan, dialog with citizens to poll their key urban environmental issues, or even simply posting the plan as tabled is very concerning. We hope this is simply an oversight and that the city is as committed to adopting meaningful measures as previously stated,” says Laird.by