Community Adjustment Committee Envisions a ‘Resilient Community’ for Sault Ste. Marie

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courtesy Shaw TV

Since its first meeting on September 7, the Community Adjustment Committee (CAC) has been busy establishing its Terms of Reference, adopting a vision and framework for the development of a comprehensive plan for Sault Ste. Marie, and reviewing planning documents and research from both Sault Ste. Marie and elsewhere.

“Our vision is to strengthen Sault Ste. Marie’s resilience,” says CAC Chair and spokesperson, Gayle Broad. “A resilient community is one which can adapt to change, and use its resources to respond and recover quickly when facing adverse conditions.” The CAC’s research to date has shown that in an increasingly globalized world, where rapid change is the norm, over-reliance on any one industry or resource decreases resilience, and successful communities thrive on diversity, in all aspects of life.

“The CAC has adopted an overall framework which will guide our planning, based on the four pillars of sustainability,” states Broad. Those four pillars include: economic diversity and growth, cultural vitality, social equity, and environmental sustainability. “These pillars will assist us in identifying strategic priorities for development that can strengthen Sault Ste. Marie’s resilience.”

The CAC has drawn together fourteen community leaders to lead the process of developing a comprehensive plan, who are supported in their work by a strong team of resource people. “There is tremendous community support for this project,” says Broad. “We have received many offers from community agencies, organizations, individuals and institutions, which are committed to strengthening the City’s capacity to respond to both current and future challenges.”

Global trends are having a pervasive impact on the region and within the City itself.

“The evidence is clear that changes ranging from technological advances, climate change, corporate restructuring and financing, to global migration are all challenging communities’ ability to adapt and thrive,” says Broad. “But other communities which have been successfully adapting can provide us with some insights about opportunities for our community.” Current and previous documents and reports are also assisting the CAC in determining the current status of the City’s economic diversity and growth, cultural vitality, social equity, and economic diversity.

The Committee is currently developing a community engagement strategy and detailed work plan, so that it can benefit from the advice and input of diverse community stakeholders.

Input from the community will inform the draft work plan, strategic priorities and recommendations. The Committee expects to have a first draft of the strategic priorities completed by January, 2017.

The Community Adjustment Committee is a program funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, with in-kind support provided by the Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie. Its mandate is to develop a comprehensive plan and set of recommendations by April, 2017.