New Environmental Framework renews County’s environmental commitment

June 30, 2021

New Environmental Framework renews County’s environmental commitment

Strathcona County has renewed its commitment to taking action on environmental issues. A new, updated Environmental Framework, approved on June 29, outlines a community-informed collaborative approach that sets municipal priorities and provides a guide to assess environmental factors and impacts in planning and decision making.

“Strathcona County is committed to sustaining and protecting healthy citizens and healthy ecosystems,” says Mayor Rod Frank. “It’s important we work with our community and partners to take action, using sound, evidence-based decision-making tools; and the Environmental Framework helps us do that.”

The update of the previous 2009 Environmental Sustainability Framework is informed by public and stakeholder engagement, significant research and a review of relevant trends and policies. Based on the ecosystem model, it reflects persistent issues:

  • Global growth: addressing a need to shift to development focused on human well-being and interaction with the natural environment
  • Global biodiversity crisis: addressing habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, human population and over-harvesting
  • Climate change: addressing changes in average conditions and changes in variability, including extreme conditions

Air quality and emissions; green space and urban sprawl; and waste and plastics, are the top three environmental concerns for residents, according to a recent Strathcona County survey informing the framework. Further, residents are most interested in air quality microsensor deployments, water conservation, biodiversity and carbon footprint reduction activities, as ways they can take action on the environment.

To support local action on key environmental issues, the County has reframed its focus on achievable, place-based environmental outcomes: air, water, land, biological diversity (new), waste and energy.

The County will capture progress, achievements and solutions to highlight and report back to the community, including an annual environmental outcome report.

Current practices and future initiatives include greenhouse gas reduction; ensuring water supply meets future needs; smart growth community design; citizen stewardship to support biodiversity conservation; the waste management road map; and energy management such as reducing use in municipal buildings and municipal operations.

Stakeholders who provided input on the updated Environmental Framework include Beaver Hills Biosphere, North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, Nature Conservancy Canada, Friends of Elk Island Society, Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta Capital Airshed and Fort Air Partnership.

More information: Environmental Framework

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of hydrocarbon processing in Western Canada. Strathcona County is a leader in environmental conservation, and 55 per cent of its land is within the UNESCO Beaver Hills Biosphere. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595