Corner Brook Sustainability
Along the west coast of Newfoundland lies the community of Corner Brook. Originally four unique comminutes; Townsite (the center of the city now, originally the hub for the paper and pulp industry and the subsequent employees), Curling (with its fishery), Corner Brook East (the railway and industrial operations), and Corner Brook West (who’s retail evened out the other industry hubs). While it was 58 years ago that these communities joined together to create the city, it was certainly not the last time different local groups would join together for one goal.
Being one of the first communities in Atlantic Canada to embrace sustainability in all its forms, the City of Corner Brook makes a commitment on their website for a community to not only embrace best practices of other top Canadian cities sustainability efforts, but to strive and excel with the help of four equally as important groups coming together; public, private, government, and the populous.
The city has made several moves already with its focus on new sustainable measures, one of which is the Public Transit Systems extended hours, developed to encourage more riders thus reducing the footprint of the city. Added benefits to the overhaul on transit is the progress in e-upgrades which include real time transit info available on smart phones and computers, as well as use of google maps with the transit system. While the foresight of these technology upgrades prepare for a community on the rise, the usability and systems themselves, easily rival the TTC in Toronto or the STM in Montreal.
For outside partnerships, the City joined the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) in 2006, which showcases a guide for municipal governments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Quarterbacked by the FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities), the PCP program is a network of Canadian municipal governments that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and acting on climate change.
The milestone framework for this is to create a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and forecast, setting an emissions reduction target, develop a local action plan, implementing the local action plan (or a set of activities), and finally monitoring progress and reporting results. The local action plan in this framework in Canada is what is referred to as the ICSP (integrated community sustainability plan) or for Corner Brook, an IMSP (integrated municipal sustainability plan).
The Integrated Municipal Sustainability Plan (IMSP, Municipal Plan, Plan), which has its legal basis in the Urban and Rural Planning Act, is a continuation of a forward planning process that commenced in 1955. It is intended to provide policies for the overall physical design and development of the City of Corner Brook (City) for the next ten years in order to improve the physical, social, environmental and economic well-being of the community.
The platform includes many of the other key initiatives that the City has and is undertaking, including residential curbside recycling program, converting lights in City hall (even including the Christmas tree lights) to LED, and LEED construction work in City hall.
Developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), and monitored in Canada by CaGBC, LEED is intended to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. Proposals to modify the LEED standards are offered and publicly reviewed by the USGBC’s almost-20,000 member organizations.
Another key partner to the City, looking past the eco side of Sustainability, is Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. The campus is nestled away on the scenic west coast of the island. They are part of the Memorial University family. Their programming is exceptional, the student population eclectic and their faculty and staff are supportive. Since 2004, the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre has been working with new and potential entrepreneurs in the pre start-up phase of business development, helping them to connect with the resources, programs and agencies they need. It exists as a partnership between Grenfell Campus and the College of the North Atlantic. It exists as a resource for students, alumni and the greater community to grow entrepreneurship in the western Newfoundland.
Over the past eight years the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre has played an integral role in the creation of 41 businesses in the region. Sean St. George, program manager with the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre, noted “Navigate offers business information, direction and support to clients. Their knowledge and support enables the entrepreneurs to make informed decisions that strengthen their business planning and operational performance.” The businesses which have found success through Navigate are diverse and include an award-winning band, a sushi restaurant, a whisky bar, a real estate company, an art gallery, a physiotherapy clinic, a tattoo parlour, a and a photography business.
Navigate is a natural fit for Grenfell. It’s about building the community, supporting local economy and helping residents to flourish, which aligns with Memorial University’s guiding principles. As the province’s only university, they have a commitment and obligation to the success of the Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s part of public engagement. Public engagement is collaboration between the publicand Memorial that furthers Memorial’s mission. It’s collaboration that draws on the knowledge and resources of everyone involved. It’s collaboration that involves mutual respect, mutual contributions and mutual benefits for all participants.
Memorial is a public institution dedicated to serving the public good and strengthening their community. By encouraging and supporting publicly engaged work, Memorial is fulfilling its special obligation to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Grenfell Campus thrives in Corner Brook – a university town with a city spirit. A city where you can shop, hike, paint, and ski one day, then visit a café, local movie theatre, thriving art gallery, or zip down a walking trail the next. With over 20,000 people,
Corner Brook has the attractions of a bigger city while keeping its small town charm and laid-back vibe. This place is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Marble Mountain is 1,700 feet of top-notch skiing and snowboarding – just 15 minutes from campus. And a short car ride away is Gros Morne National Park, a world heritage site with marine inlets, rich forest and glacier-carved fjords. We’re surrounded by some of Canada’s most beautiful wilderness. Cliffs. Mountains.Beaches. There are caves to discover, bike trails to barrel down and climbing routes to shimmy up. It’s all close to campus, ready to explore.