Seven Questions to Sustainability
By Bill Langer
The development of a Canadian sand and gravel deposit demonstrates how these questions apply to aggregates.
When Rosie and I compete in canine agility, it is pretty easy to tell whether or not we were successful. At the level that Rosie competes, any signal from the judge indicates failure. Furthermore, the crowd generally reports the results by cheering for the qualifiers as they cross the finish line; the non-qualifiers usually exit the course to an eerie silence.
The success of a sustainability project is a little more difficult to judge.
The Calahoo-Villeneuve sand and gravel deposit is a major source of aggregate for the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Conflicts over developing the aggregate led to the establishment of an Area Structure Plan (ASP).
The report Application of Sustainable Development Principles to the Alberta Aggregates Resource Sector (Richards and Peel, 2003) examined the sustainability of the ASP by evaluating its key tenants using the Seven Questions to Sustainability (Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development-North America, 2002).
The Richards-Peel evaluation is described in this column and is organized by the seven questions. I have summarized their evaluation and findings to demonstrate how to test the effectiveness of a sustainability plan and to illustrate how one city dealt with the issues surrounding aggregate resource protection. (The single word descriptors — yes, somewhat, and no — are mine.)
1. Engagement — Are engagement processes in place and working effectively?
Yes — The ASP was developed to resolve conflicts between industry, land owners, and residents. The plan was accepted by all the stakeholders, and a Community Liaison Committee was established to monitor the process.
2. People — Will people’s well-being be maintained or improved?
Yes — The Community Enhancement Fund, a voluntary levy on production, was established to support community activities and fund a groundwater monitoring program.
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