Environmental stewardship key part of county plan

Providing a guideline for environmental stewardship is the goal of Lacombe County’s Environmental Management Plan.

Providing a guideline for environmental stewardship is the goal of Lacombe County’s Environmental Management Plan.

Created as an internal guiding document for county staff and councillors, the plan outlines the county’s targets, goals and expectations as they relate to environmental stewardship.

It was released to the public last month, allowing an insight into the county’s plan for environmental management.

“The need (for the plan) arose from the identification that we have to be a good steward of the environment, and to demonstrate to the residents of the county what we’re doing in regards to environmental management,” said acting environmental co-ordinator Cajun Paradis.

Contained in the document is an introduction to environmental management, as well as information on the plan’s development. Also included is information on the plan’s implementation, and its goals and targets as they relate to water quality, waste generation and disposal, water use efficiency and energy consumption.

The plan is the fourth step in the county’s process to establish an environmental management system. Earlier steps included consultation with residents, council, county staff and stakeholders in 2012, and completion of a State of the Environment report in 2013.

Although similar plans have previously been implemented by urban municipalities, the plan is the first of its kind for the county.

“I think it’s more out-of-the-box for a rural municipality to implement plans such as this,” said Paradis.

The plan was compiled by an ad hoc environmental management steering committee chaired by the county’s environmental co-ordinator.

As an internally-focused document, it’s meant to govern only the operations of the county — not members of the general public who live within it.

“The end goal would be that it increases our best management practices toward the environment, and demonstrates that we’re being good stewards,” said Paradis.

The plan in its entirety is viewable online at www.lacombecounty.com. Print copies are available at the county office.