September 09, 2015
Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan approved
Community’s vision for its future emphasizes education and creativity, a growing sustainable economy, and environmental leadership
The Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan has moved into the next stage of becoming a reality. Today, County Council approved the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and the establishment of the Community Steering Committee as the Future Oxford Transition Board.
The development of a community-driven sustainability plan is supported by all of the strategic directions in the County’s Strategic Plan, and in particular, the County’s commitment to thinking ahead and wisely shaping the future by applying social, financial and environmental sustainability lenses to significant decisions. The plan addresses a variety of issues relating to quality of life, healthy environments, effective governance and economic security in Oxford County.
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 cultural 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.
At today’s meeting, County Council approved the plan with a minor amendment to adjust the life expectancy of the County landfill from 2060 to 2100. With this change, the “Achieving zero waste in Oxford” objective now commits to developing a waste reduction and diversion strategy that ensures the Oxford County Waste Management site can meet Oxford’s total landfill disposal needs of residents and businesses to at least 2100.
The Plan also sets a target to achieve a reliance on 100% renewable energy by 2050. Council had previously committed to this target at the June 24 Council meeting.
Council has also approved the commitment to appoint the Inaugural Future Oxford Board and a Program Director by January 30, 2016. Staff will begin working on a funding plan for Council’s consideration during the 2016 budget planning process.
- 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. 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.
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About Oxford County
Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Oxford County has a population of approximately 111,000 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.