Email to Councillor Unger
Dan Appell — September 4, 2010
Dear Councillor Unger,
Thank-you for listening to my comments at the financial planning meeting, August 30, 2010.
After the meeting you asked me for a definition of “sustainability.” This definition is culled from a variety of sources and seems to be widely used. I find it useful.
Sustainability involves the maintenance of the systems that sustain us, so that these systems can continue to sustain us, and our children and our grandchildren and so on.
The definition provided by city staff for the production of the revised OCP is not incorrect. It is cumbersome, and much harder to put into practice.
You said that you thought the term was somewhat trendy and en vogue. This is ironic, because decisions regarding “sustainability” have the longest reach into the future and the broadest effect on the present.
If I may, I would like to offer you an easy to use guide that might help you make decisions that maintain the systems that sustain us — Always seek solutions based on the efficiency of their practice. Remember, efficiency has three components; productivity, consumption and waste. Efficiency is improved when productivity goes up, consumption goes down and waste is eliminated. If every idea, or design is tested based on its ability to improve efficiency, then it is much easier to find solutions that have a lasting and positive sustainable impact.
I do believe that if every councillor and mayor made a habit of practicing this test, we would soon be discussing sustainable tax decreases, not tax increases.
If you need further explanation or assistance, please feel free to contact me.