Fraser Basin Council Honours Sustainability Champions

VANCOUVER, Feb. 23 /CNW/ – The Fraser Basin Council has recognized five organizations for their outstanding contributions to sustainability.

2009_Overall_Sustainability_Award "The 2009 Sustainability Awards celebrate the achievements of innovative organizations throughout the Fraser River Basin that are demonstrating excellence in advancing sustainability," said Fraser Basin Council Chair Charles Jago. Awards in five categories were presented by the Hon. Iona Campagnolo on February 19 during a gala dinner at the State of the Fraser Basin Conference in Vancouver.

Doreen Wright Award

The Doreen Wright Award, the Fraser Basin Council’s award for individual excellence in sustainability, was presented to Lee Hesketh for his inspirational work with the Farmland Riparian Interface Program of the BC Cattlemen’s Association. Lee Hesketh, of Silver Hills Ranch in the Nicola Valley, has worked tirelessly with BC’s ranchers to help them avoid loss of farmland through erosion and degradation, at the same time restoring and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat.

2009 Sustainability Award Recipients

The City of Surrey took home the Overall Sustainability Award for its adoption of a Sustainability Charter in 2008. Surrey’s Charter provides a framework for implementing a progressive 50-year vision for a sustainable city – and will serve as an overarching policy document to guide all other policies, plans, projects and practices over which the city has control or influence. Within the Charter’s "Scope of Sustainability" there are 57 detailed steps – and 32 of these have been approved by Council for completion in the coming year. Most notably, Surrey is establishing a Sustainability Office, a sustainable development checklist and creation of a community task force to confirm sustainability indicators and targets.

The Understanding Sustainability Award was given to UBC Farm (Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of British Columbia). UBC Farm is
Vancouver’s last working farm and a one-of-a-kind model of sustainable agro-ecology in an urban setting. A teaching, research and community farm, UBC Farm offers both students and the broader community an opportunity to learn about changes in food production and distribution, important to reducing GHG
emissions, mitigating climate change and creating healthy local communities and economies.

The Caring for Ecosystems Award honours stewards of the environment and natural resources, and recognizes initiatives that respect ecosystems and their interrelationships. This year’s recipient is Novex Delivery Solutions of Richmond, the first local courier company in Canada to take steps to reduce its environmental impact, develop sustainable practices and recognize a triple bottom line. Novex has partnered with Offsetters to provide local carbon offsets, becoming the only carbon neutral courier in Canada. An early adopter of greener fleet vehicles, Novex is working towards a 100% clean fleet by 2012. The company has also introduced a digital courier service to support transfer of important documents that can be digitally signed and verified.

The Strengthening Communities Award recognizes those who enable communities to build diverse economies, an educated work force, safe neighbourhoods, accessibility to basic commodities, shared goals, local action and a sense of belonging. This year’s recipient was Siska Traditions Society, an independent community organization that supports socio-economic opportunities, promotes traditional values and protects Siska’s Aboriginal rights. The Society is developing a traditional Indigenous food sector. Its work includes the production and sale of wild-harvested jams, teas, soaps, and salves; a traditional food gathering training and certification program; research collaborations with UBC and UNBC; creation of a traditional foods guide; and research on salmon health as it relates to the health of Indigenous Peoples. Chief Fred Sampson is acknowledged as playing an instrumental role in the success of the Siska Traditions Society.

The Improving Decision-Making Award was given to the Integrated Land Management Bureau of the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and its partners for completing the Sea-to-Sky Land and Resource Management Plan in April 2008. The plan provides direction on the sustainable use of land and natural resources for over one million hectares north of Metro Vancouver. The plan was possible through a collaboration with First Nations, local government, the private sector and public groups. Of particular note are the government-to-government discussions between the Province of BC and First Nations, resulting in agreements and partnerships with four First Nations – Squamish, Lil’wat, In’SHUCK-ch and Tsleil-Waututh. The planning process, which took place over five years, will be showcased during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

 

For more on the award recipients, short-listed candidates and award criteria, see www.fraserbasin.bc.ca/awards/index.html.

The Fraser Basin Council is a non-profit society established in 1997 to bring people together to find solutions to long-standing issues and conflicts, and take advantage of opportunities to advance sustainability in the Fraser River Basin. The Council’s vision for the Fraser Basin is a place where social well-being is supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment.

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/For further information: Denise Palmer, Communications Manager, Tel: (604) 488-5352, Email: dpalmer@fraserbasin.bc.ca/

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