Community’s vision for its future emphasizes education and creativity, a growing sustainable economy, and environmental leadership
A year and a day after the Community Sustainability Plan Steering Committee was announced, the final draft of Oxford’s first-ever Community Sustainability Plan was tabled—and endorsed– at County Council as the first in a series of council presentations that will continue at local area municipalities over the coming weeks.
Future Oxford: A Community Sustainability Plan sets out the community’s vision for how we will manage human (community), natural (environmental) and financial (economic) resources for Oxford County’s future growth and wellbeing.
The final draft Plan, which can be viewed at FutureOxford.ca, sets out 70 distinct actions including:
• reducing the percentage of Oxford County residents living in poverty;
• increasing the number of residents with post-secondary education;
• increasing participation in arts, recreation, and culture activities;
• growing jobs relative to population growth;
• encouraging production and consumption of locally produced food and products; and
• achieving the highest total waste diversion rate per capita in Ontario.
The Plan also sets a target to achieve a reliance on 100% renewable energy by 2050, an initiative endorsed through a separate motion at the Council meeting.
Work on the community sustainability plan was led by the Community Sustainability Plan Steering Committee, a group made up of 15 volunteers chosen to represent different parts of Oxford County and provide a cross-section of perspective, interest or expertise on environmental issues, culture, health and wellness, business and finance, and other factors that influence human, natural and financial sustainability. List of Committee members
The Plan was informed by a community engagement campaign between November 2014 and April 2015. The Future Oxford campaign included a “future scenarios” contest, world cafés, the Ideascale online forum, a wiki and wiki workshops, and a kitchen table guidebook for people to host their own discussions. More information on Future Oxford community campaign
The Community Sustainability Steering Committee then met over April and May to review community input and incorporate that feedback into the final draft of the Community Sustainability Plan. The Committee also attended a workshop facilitated by the project consultants on the Multi-Criteria Assessment Tool, a framework to help guide decision-making that is based on research and advanced practices. A workshop for municipal mayors, councillors and staff was held on June 1 to orient Council and area municipalities to the Committee’s work and preview targets in the Plan.
Pending the Plan’s endorsement at all municipal councils, Future Oxford: A Community Sustainability Plan will be finalized in September along with an action plan for achieving each set of targets. The final action plan is expected to establish an independent community-based partnership board to carry out the work of the Plan with the help of community volunteers to serve on various sub-committees.
For more information and to watch for updates, visit www.FutureOxford.ca.
Chris Friesen, Chair, Community Sustainability Plan Steering Committee
“Time and again throughout this process, the Steering Committee was struck by the sincerity and passion of those who took part. People in our community told us they believe Oxford is a great place to live, that they want to make it even better, and that they have confidence we can make that happen. There is a tremendous amount of work ahead of us to move this plan from paper to action, but we hope our municipal councils and Oxford’s citizens are as excited about receiving the Community Sustainability Plan as we are to share it.”
• Council Report CAO 2015-05 – Oxford Community Sustainability Plan can be read in the June 24, 2015, County Council Agenda: Read the Council report
• Work on the Community Sustainability Plan was co-facilitated by consultants at Sustainability Solutions Group and IndEco Strategic Solutions.
• Following the presentation to County Council on June 24, the final draft of the Community Sustainability Plan will be tabled as a delegation at local area municipal councils at the following times:
Township of East Zorra-Tavistock – July 2, 11:00 am
Township of Blandford Blenheim – July 8, 4:00 pm
City of Woodstock – July 9, 7:00 pm
Town of Ingersoll – July 13, 7:00 pm
Town of Tillsonburg – July 13, 6:00 pm
Township of Norwich – July 14, 1:00 pm
Township of South-West Oxford – July 14, 9:30 am
Township of Zorra – July 14, 11:00 am
About Oxford County
Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Oxford County has a population of approximately 109,000 people across eight municipalities that are “growing stronger together” through a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government incorporated as the County of Oxford. One of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, Oxford County also boasts a rapidly expanding commercial and industrial sector that is bolstered by its choice location at the crossing of Highways 401 and 403. The County is home to a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock. Visit www.oxfordcounty.ca or follow our social media sites at www.oxfordcounty.ca/social. Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at oxfordcounty.ca/strategicplan.
Tommasina Conte Strategic Communication & Engagement 519.539.9800, ext. 3503 firstname.lastname@example.org