Fraser Basin Council Honours Sustainability Champions



    VANCOUVER, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - The Fraser Basin Council has recognized five
organizations for their outstanding contributions to sustainability.
    "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. High resolution photos
are available on request.

    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.





For further information:

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

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FRASER BASIN COUNCIL

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