City of Iqaluit earns national award for sustainability plan
Federation honours city for community consultations
The City of Iqaluit’s Sustainable Community Plan got top marks nationally Feb. 12, when it won an award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
The plan, which sets out a guideline for sustainable development of the community over the next 50 years, won a Sustainable Community Award in the category of “neighbourhood development.”
Iqaluit was one of seven municipalities from across Canada to win at this year’s awards, which recognize “innovation and excellence” in municipal sustainable development.
“It is an honour for Iqaluit to be acknowledged as a national leader in sustainable community development,” Mayor John Graham said in a new release from the city Feb. 13.
He thanked city residents, city staff and city council “for working together and creating a plan that is meaningful and focused.”
The mayor received the award at the FCM’s Sustainable Communities Conference and Trade Show in Charlottetown. With him were the city’s chief administrative officer John Hussey and Robyn Campbell, the sustainability coordinator for the city of Iqaluit.
“It’s wonderful for us to be recognized by our peers,” Campbell said from Charlottetown, Feb. 13. “It’s an honour for Iqalummiut to be recognized for great practices that we’ve held, and to be recognized as leaders in the country.”
Iqaluit was the only winner from the country’s three territories. Others included the City of Toronto for neighbourhood development, and other communities won in different categories in B.C., Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.
What interested the FCM most about Iqaluit’s plan was the high level of involvement by community residents, Campbell said.
Adopted by council on Jan. 28 after seven years of work, “the plan was created through extensive community involvement and direct participation,” Campbell said.
More than 700 people contributed to the plan directly, she said.
“People are fascinated with how we’ve been able to engage our community in dialog, and be responsive to what we’ve heard. Municipalities are constantly trying to have that relationship with their communities,” Campbell said. “It’s one of the struggles that they have.”
On passing the city’s sustainability plan in January, Iqaluit city councillors said they were hopeful that it would set a better long-term vision for the city.
The plan lays out a list of actions for the city to follow, under three broad categories – environmental, economic, and social health and well-being of residents. FCM funded a portion of the most recent phase of the project, covering 2011-2013 through a “green municipal fund.”
Campbell’s next step for 2014 is to implement the plan over the next five years.
“We’ll be having an annual report so we can keep track of how we’re progressing with the actions that are in the plan,” Campbell said.
This will inform residents about how the city is becoming more sustainable, she said, and “more connected, more environmentally-conscious, and more economically sound.”
The award is a good signal that the community of Iqaluit has “done an excellent job at working together to come up with a great plan, that is going to lead us to a better long-term future,” she said.