Report of the Wolfville Sustainability Initiative

If you can stomach the buzz words like ecological foot print, branding, and those ubiquitous and unnecessary “sus” words [in the 32 page document “sustainable” appears 49 times and “sustainabilty” 137 times] you might like to read this report on the outcome of the Community Circles held recently to get input from residents on what has allowed Wolfville to survive for about 250 years and how to keep it alive in spite of chemotherapy like efforts of various Town Administrations over the years.

The gems in this dross are few and far between. Try and ignore the “community sustainability champions” and the “green roof tops” and the “Goals for GHG emissions” and find them.

Here are a few:

Too many empty businesses
Lack of business development incentives
Lack of transparency in development decisions
Taxes too high, inhibits commercial development
Concern that level of town services do not match
high tax rate
Increase in youth vandalism
Too expensive for young families
Taxes too high
Local residents do not support local shops
Acadia University not taking responsibility for off campus behaviour of its students (e.g. parties)
Willow Park lacks playground [We’d say children cannot kick a ball around without landing it in a bed somewhere now with enlarged and multiple flower beds.]
Too much traffic congestion in the downtown core
Too many heavy trucks in downtown core
Town pursues too many projects…
Zoning laws seem to be applied inconsistently

yada, yada, yada. Of course you knew all this already, right?

Some of suggestions in the “opportunities
column are laughable. They don’t call them solutions and they aren’t
solutions. For example the “opportunity” suggested for the complaint
that Service for taxes is questionable is

Use workshops and/or ‘coffee-klatches’ (within
schools, in neighbourhoods, at town hall) to help
educate people as to how town finances are

In other words tell them they are wrong, re-educate them.[Sounds
Maoist don’t it?] We are already educated about how the town finances
are mismanaged thank you very much. How about lowering taxes and giving better service? Too simple?

It continues: (initially these meetings may be confrontational – but as people begin to build trust the meetings will become more productive) [You think they will gain trust? Everyone we know who has had dealings with the Town has lost trust in it not gained it.]

Note the caveat in the conclusion:

One of the key limitations is that not all stakeholders
participated in the community circles. Key stakeholders who were missing include:
community associations, real estate and developers, retail outlets, fast food establishments, young adults (18-25 years old), single parents, and low income families.

Earlier in the report they said that of the 200 people who attended the circles only 90 filled out the form.

Many attempts were made to capture these stakeholders,[Hmm, strange. We didn’t see a form sent out in our tax bill] however
despite our attempts these groups were not available to meet. In future
engagement processes we will work hard to ensure we capture the
perspectives of these groups.

We can’t wait.


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