In what follows we highlight some of the inspiring people we met and projects we learned about that are responding to the challenges Victoria faces and reflect on challenges and opportunities for promoting sustainable communities. In particular, geographic questions around the appropriate scale of sustainability efforts and "who" questions around the "subjects" of sustainability were prominent.
At what scale?
Think globally, act locally has become an axiom in discussions around sustainability. But, the question of "what scale to act at" is an interesting and complex one, as we learned from planners and community leaders in Victoria. Senior Planner Kristina Bouris explained how the City of Victoria was focusing its efforts at the neighbourhood scale. Sustainability infused its Official Community Plan at the city level (and indeed aligned with broader regional goals) but, according to her, could be best realized at the neighbourhood scale.
Patti Pakhouse of the Vic West Food Security Collective directed her attention to neighbourhood level efforts - a community commons, an orchard, and a vibrant festival culture. She also imagined sustainability at the scale of the street. In the context of the "transition street" movement, Patti and her neighbours undertook a number of local food, ecological restoration, composting, and placemaking efforts on their block.
Vic West Common With Patti Pakhouse
The Compost Education Centre is a key sustainability initiative "providing composting and ecological gardening education to Capital Regional District residents." The demonstration garden site in the heart of the inner city neighbourhood of Fernwood provides a range of services including: a composting hotline (250-386-WORM), free educational literature and resource library; hands-on educational programs for all ages, and sales of composters and related products.