2017-01-26 / Editorial

Community asked to help with sustainability project

ANOTHER VIEW
BY MICK COCHRAN

There are a couple of words cropping up more frequently in the news as cities and towns look toward the future. Those words are resilience and sustainability.

I’m certain their meanings are different depending on who you are and where you live. For the record, the textbook definitions are:

Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

Sustainability: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

The Jamestown Planning Commission is embarking on an exciting, community-wide effort encouraging Jamestowners to consider what these terms mean for our community, now and far into the future. The goal is to build a more sustainable and resilient Jamestown based on the input from its citizens.

Why is this important now?

For me, having been a journalist for nearly 50 years, I’ve seen the short- and long-term impact nature, the economy and human beings can have on cities and towns around the world. More importantly, I’ve witnessed the struggles communities have as they attempt to recover from setbacks caused by natural disasters and a lack of resources.

Evaluating sustainability and resilience in Jamestown is more than just creating a disaster plan. This will be a community-wide effort to guarantee a strong foundation for this island and its inhabitants.

As the commission embarks on this task, you will be asked to consider what you find most valuable about life in Jamestown. What are the characteristics you find here that you want to see remain 20, 50 or more years from now?

In other words, you will be asked to help us define what those words mean to you.

We’ll ask you to rank the importance of various topics — jobs, cost of living, housing affordability, resource conservation, climate change, energy conservation, local business and public services. You will be able to add your own topics to the list as well.

Your participation is critical. Jamestown is made up of a broad spectrum of people and we need to hear from everyone.

For those of you who have lived here your whole life, you should think about what should never be left behind as time marches on. There’s a local term, “wash-ashores,” for people who have lived here a long time. If you are one of those, think about why you stayed. For newcomers, think about why you came in the first place.

We need to hear and understand your thinking as we approach future change.

In the coming weeks, you will have several opportunities to contribute to this project. You will hear and read about public events, at which representatives from the planning commission and its project consultants will answer your questions and ask you a few questions. If you’re a member of a local group, there’s a good chance we’ll be visiting one of your upcoming meetings. There also will be a February public meeting devoted to gathering more information from townspeople.

I urge you to follow this project and attend all the meetings you can. For background and updates, you can visit the project’s website at sustainablejamestown.com. There is a wealth of information there about goals, issues and resources.

We have a wonderful opportunity to build on our already healthy environment, strong sense of community and the well-being of people who live in Jamestown. By joining in this effort, you will be a critical part of the result.

Mick Cochran is a member of the Jamestown Planning Commission.

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