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Oxford County invited to have one more say in Community Sustainability Plan

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Oxford County residents will have one more chance to comment on the Community Sustainability Plan this month when the Future Oxford campaign shares the draft plan for public comment online through the Future Oxford “wiki” and in person through a series of workshops being held March 23-31.

Future Oxford is using a wiki - an online tool that allows many participants work together on a publication - to invite comments and suggested changes to the draft plan. The wiki will be open for comments on March 16 on the Future Oxford website at www.futureoxford.ca/wiki. The wiki draft plan closes to comments at midnight on April 6, 2015.

For those who would rather give their feedback in person, a series of community-sponsored workshops are being held between March 23-31 to allow people to discuss plan highlights and offer feedback in a group setting. Workshops are scheduled for Tillsonburg, Beachville and Woodstock.

The Tillsonburg workshop is Thursday, March 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Lions Den at the Tillsonburg Community Centre, 45 Hardy Street.

“Roughly a year ago, the Community Sustainability was recruited and convened, and now we are entering the final phase of consultation that will produce our first-ever Community Sustainability Plan," said Chris Friesen, Chair, Community Sustainability Steering Committee, in a media release.

"This would not have been possible without the work and commitment of all Steering Committee members and, most importantly, the people living here who took the time to attend a meeting, share their comments online or in person, or create an inspirational piece through the contest to help tell this story. As a committee, we are excited about what’s happened so far and the final product we’ll be able to share soon, and even more excited to see the ways people will use this tool to create a brighter future for us all.”

A condensed version of the plan will also be made available as a kitchen table guidebook after March 19 for people who prefer to mark their comments on a paper copy. Copies can be reviewed at local area municipal offices or at an Oxford County library branch.

The goal of the Future Oxford community campaign is to shape a vision for how Oxford’s communities can work together to build a sustainable, resilient and vital future guided by a shared Community Sustainability Plan. The public engagement campaign was launched in November 2014 with a future scenarios contest envisioning life in Oxford County in 2030, and then followed by a series of World Cafés. In January, Ideascale was launched to allow community members to share and vote on ideas for sustainable actions. The wiki, workshops and kitchen table guidebook mark the final phase of the Future Oxford community engagement campaign.

The final Community Sustainability Plan will be presented to Oxford County Council, which is made up of mayors of each local area municipality plus two additional Woodstock councillors, in July. If accepted, it will be shared with the community so that it can be used and referenced by local municipalities, community groups and business and industry partners.

Community members can follow the Future Oxford campaign in the local media, at FutureOxford.ca, on Twitter at @FutureOxfordca, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/futureoxfordca.

Purpose of the Sustainability Plan

The Community Sustainability Planwill serve as a guideline for decisions that impact quality of life in Oxford’s communities for generations to come, including new landfill development, source water protection, caring for an aging population, waste management and other concerns. The Plan will be founded on a decision-making framework that balances the County’s collective social, environmental and economic interests.

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