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Sustainability not just a catch phrase in King

May 27, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Members of the Sustainability Advisory Committe include Joel Carcone, Councillor David Boyd, Brent King, John Bartella, Councillor Avia Eek, Susan Beharriell, Susan Lloyd Swail, Councillor Debbie Schaefer, Nancy Belo Gomes (Vice Chair), Tashko Sarakinov and Rick Sikorski  (Chair).

By Mark Pavilons
King Township is serious about its long-term sustainability.
The term could almost be synonymous for this idyllic place at the edge of the largest urban centre in the country.
Armed with its grassroots Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, King has embedded certain fundamentals into its long-range vision.
It’s not enough to simply have a playbook; everyone has a role to play in ensuring this township’s healthy future.
According to Rick Sikorski, chair of King’s Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC), this sense that encompasses the broader sustainability is almost like a community value. It’s about embracing where you live and working actively to ensure King’s way of life.
Since the Plan’s launch in the spring of 2012, the message appears throughout King’s guiding documents, and in every staff report submitted to council. It’s a core value, a raison d’etre in many ways.
The nature of sustainability is that it’s “hard slugging” Sikorski admitted, but committee members, staff and residents are constantly working for our betterment.
Sikorski wants to create an audit, to see just where the township is in terms of its achievements, goals and direction.
The beauty of the Sustainability Plan, the process that created it and the current SAC is the “diversity of voices.” It makes the guidelines even stronger, Sikorski pointed out. He’s always eager to hear alternative points of view.
“Good ideas come from everywhere, not just experts,” he observed.
They have to pick their battles, while at the same time, paying attention to all four “pillars” of the plan – environment, socio-culture, economy and finance. It covers everything from transportation and climate change to managing growth and respecting our heritage.
Sustainability King is charged with making sure the messages are conveyed to everyone who comes here, including new residents and large corporations. This message contains exactly what King expects from its stakeholders. It’s the motivation to “stand up and say ‘respect the place,’” he said.
Sikorski also wants to create indicators to measure the plan’s progress. He wants to find new ways to engage youth and ensure that our young people understand sustainability and carry the torch. They want to help “kids feel good about where they live” and “fight for it.”
Environmentally speaking, protection of our natural environment will continue as “long as people stand up to protect it.”
Development pressures will continue to be huge and King remains a very desirable place to be.
Sikorski, a senior staffer with Toronto and Region Conservation, uses his knowledge and network to “bring it where I live.”
All of the committee members bring a cornucopia of skills to the table.
SAC members sit a term concurrent to that of council, running through 2018.
SAC was established in the fall of 2012 and is responsible for guiding the implementation of the Plan.
The committee consists of Councillors Avia Eek, Debbie Schaefer and David Boyd. Community members include Nancy Belo Gomes, Brent King, Susan Lloyd Swail, John Bartella,  Joel Carcone, Tashko Sarakinov and Susan Beharriell.
The meetings are held the last Tuesday of the month at the Township office and the public is invited to attend.
King, unlike its urban neighbours, has a very strong connection with the land. This concept may be quite foreign to urbanites who relocate here. Sustainable King can help them understand the intricacies of this lifestyle.
Sikorski also sees preserving the past as an important piece to the puzzle. The Lloydtown Rebellion of 1837 is a big part of Canadian history. The Lloydtown Rebellion was part of the Upper Canada Rebellion. During the 1830s, Lloydtown was well known as a site for reform sympathisers, and regular meetings were hosted by Jesse Lloyd. On Nov. 24, 1837, a final meeting to review plans was held between Lloyd and William Lyon Mackenzie. Hoping to take advantage of the departure of troops to Lower Canada in response to the Lower Canada Rebellion, Mackenzie had planned to seize a government arms cache in York on Dec. 7.
And it all began in our community. This story needs to be remembered and retold.
The committee offers support to community events and gives them a “sustainability lens.” It’s a catalyst for others, including the Township itself. They are advisors and public ambassadors.
Committee members are also willing to speak at local events and to local community groups and non-profit organizations.
“This is why we exist,” Sikorski observed.
King’s sustainability is a group effort. Together, we can all contribute to the next chapter of King’s success story.
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