Sustainable development is a broad concept designed to adhere to 16 key principles, such as health and quality of life, environmental protection, and the “polluter pays” principle. This concept therefore requires a broad vision. For a municipality, it means offering a quality living environment to both today’s citizens and future generations, and doing so efficiently and consistently on the economic, social, environmental, and governance levels.
To do so, a municipality can implement a number of processes to limit its environmental footprint, operate more efficiently, or elicit greater participation and commitment from citizens, among other things.
Sustainable development plan
Since 2010, the City of Saint-Lambert has sought to integrate sustainable development practices into its management methods. The Environment Committee studied the issue in order to present City Council with recommendations that would serve as the basis for the City’s future actions regarding the environment. To ensure that we were on the right track, the City then examined the best practices adopted by other cities in Quebec, the rest of Canada, and abroad that had already begun sustainable development initiatives. Based on this study, it came up with recommendations for Saint-Lambert.
This was how Saint-Lambert’s first sustainable development plan came into being and was developed, with the collaboration of Équiterre. It included six priorities: municipal management, energy efficiency and greenhouse gases, sustainable mobility, water, waste, and green spaces. To these priorities were allocated 12 guidelines and 68 actions to be carried out between 2012 and 2016.
The City decided to conduct an assessment of the situation at the end of this period and it is, after all, very positive!
79% of the planned actions had been taken or were under way
By the end of the 2012-2016 period, 32 actions had been completed, 20 actions were under way, and 2 actions had been added along the way and had been completed, leaving 14 actions that had not been taken. The highlights are presented below:
Presence of a green squad during summer
A green squad consisting of one or two students has been in place every year since 2013. Activities have also been developed on the topics of water, waste, and biodiversity, and are carried out in day camps and at local events such as the public market and the Jeudis de la place. Bike squads have distributed door hang cards and issued infraction notices to residents disobeying municipal by-laws regarding the environment.
Procurement procedure for ecofriendly maintenance products
This procedure was implemented in 2012 to ensure that the city administration and its suppliers reduce their use of environmentally harmful products as much as possible.
Inventory and 2012-2018 greenhouse gas reduction plan
On March 15, 2016, Saint-Lambert City Council adopted the Longueuil Agglomeration’s inventory and greenhouse gas reduction plan, including Saint-Lambert’s action plan. A goal of an 18% reduction in greenhouse gases was set. However, we find that this goal needs to be better circulated internally.
Pilot urban agriculture projects
The community garden at Lespérance Park will be upgraded, and its management is evolving according to the park redevelopment goals. Urban beehives have been installed on the roof of the Public Works building since 2014, and activities are held each season to raise awareness among citizens and employees. An edible plant development project was carried out at École des Saints-Anges in 2015 and developments are now under way for similar projects with other schools.
Commitment to the careful use of potable water in accordance with the Stratégie québécoise d’économie d’eau potable
The potable water consumption target set in the Stratégie québécoise d’économie d’eau potable for Saint-Lambert was 409 litres per person per day in 2017 (or 149.3 m3/yr). When the Sustainable Development Plan was adopted in 2011, potable water consumption in our city was 745 litres per person per day!
It has dropped every year since then, thanks to the detection of leaks, a by-law on potable water use, and an incentive program for replacing toilets and using potable water conservation kits. Great efforts are still needed to improve our knowledge of the underground water system and to reduce our water use.
Community composter network
Home composting has been encouraged since 2013, with the City selling subsidized composters. Citizens have purchased 450 composters to date. The City has also offered training sessions on composting since 2014 and has introduced community composting stations in parks (1 in 2013 and 2 in 2014). In 2015, 75 families were using these stations on a regular basis.
Introduction of a tree sale day and publication of a tree guide
An annual tree sale day has been held since 2012, with 764 trees distributed to citizens annually. A guide was developed in 2013 to help citizens choose the best species and maintain their trees properly. It is available online free of charge.
Adoption of a tree policy and a tree charter
Adopted in June 2012, this tree policy and the related tree charter will be applied until 2018. They guide both the City’s actions and citizens’ contributions to this collective wealth.
Diversification of the urban forest
Our urban forest is still being ravaged by the emerald ash borer infestation. The plan for managing this pest has focused on removing dead ash trees, treating suspect trees, and planting diversified species to ensure the long-term resilience of our urban forest.
Traffic-calming measures to promote active mobility
Since the implementation of the Sustainable Development Plan, several traffic-calming measures have been implemented throughout our city (markings on the pavement, “bulb-outs” or bulging sidewalk extensions, bollards, etc.).
The process of developing actions for the years ahead will include reflection on ways to integrate sustainable development principles into municipal operations (governance, budget, project definition procurement, etc.) in order to avoid working in silos (where teams fail to interact and share).
However, this approach will require mobilizing elected municipal officers, municipal teams, and citizens to ensure full understanding of the concept, as well as support for and compliance with the guidelines that will be defined. Sustainable development will thus become a key issue in municipal decisions.
With this assessment now completed, the City of Saint-Lambert will spend the next few months developing a new action plan. The process will begin in early spring 2018 with a public consultation. It will be held concurrently with the development of Vision 2035 aimed at revamping the land use plan. The goal will be to implement the new action plan starting in 2019.
You can consult the complete assessment of the 2012-2016 sustainable development plan.
Bilan complet du Plan de développement durable 2012-2016 (in French only)