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A Sustainable City?

A Sustainable City?
Vehicles are interesting.

Some people love them. Some hate them. Some are like me: we tolerate them because we need transportation for work and play. Most of us spend a lot of money on them.

It strikes me that having government is like owning a vehicle. Some people love to see government spend and regulate. Some resent every tax dollar and every rule. Some are apathetic to anything government does. No matter how we feel, we all spend a lot of money on government.

Governments need to spend some money, and they need to provide some regulations. But this requires thought and moderation. Take parks: building a new playground or regulating for more green space can be great. They can also contribute to disaster if part of over taxation and over regulation of development. Government work needs to be undertaken prudently.

Governments also need to think about the long-term. It is easy for elected leaders to think only about this election cycle. But short term decision leading can lead to long term disaster. Thinking only a few years in advances is like someone neglecting to change the oil in their car.

These thoughts all have to do with sustainability. By sustainable, I mean "setup for long term health and vitality." This health in a city involves regulation and taxation. But over taxation and over or poor regulation can kill sustainability.

A sustainable city is one that:

  • Creates thoughtful fiscal policies and follows them with discipline
  • Maintains a realistic budget that returns excellent value to taxpayers
  • Partners with neighbouring municipalities to plan for the future, grow the regional economy, deliver services, and cost share
  • Thinks beyond the next election
  • Fosters diverse types of development which generate revenue for the city
  • Supports local businesses
  • Takes a sensible and modern approach to regulation
  • Limits red tape on business and development
  • Talks to its citizens about their needs and opportunities

A sustainable city is the first step to having a livable and connected city.

I've got some thoughts about how to keep Grande Prairie sustainable. I'll be sharing those in a few weeks. But for now, I’d love to hear from you.

What do you think it takes to make a sustainable city? What can the next Council work on to make us more sustainable? Let me know. Comment on this post, give me a call or email, or post this on Facebook and tag me.