Sustainable community workshop explores future needs

Ideas flow on green industry, 'co-housing', arts community

Peter Jarvis

Peter Jarvis

A Miles Ahead Community Workshop attracted 18 people to the South Cariboo Rec. Centre recently.

They were there to contribute comments on their vision for an evolved community in the District of 100 Mile House and area, and what values they’d like to see sustained for the next 50-100 years.

It was part of the input being sought to help form a long-term plan for 100 Mile House, said District planner Joanne Doddridge.

“We want to hear from you on what you value about 100 Mile House and how you want to see the community evolve.”

A range of ideas were discussed that the folks in attendance wish to explore, create or preserve for the next couple of generations and beyond.

Maddi Newman of 108 Mile Ranch said she would like to see the focus shifting away from economic growth that is not environmentally sustainable.

She shared her thoughts on how to give the town a greener image as a sustainable community less reliant on things like fossil fuels and the hydro-electric grid.

“I think we should build a prototype ‘earth home’ off the grid, and totally sustainable.”

She added this would include features, such as utilizing solar power, containing water and reusing it for washing or gardening, and it could be built into the ground for natural, geothermal warmth and insulation.

Sustainable energy production is the fastest growing sector and could create local jobs, Newman noted.

“I could see our town with a good, solid plan; a town that manufactures solar panels.”

Kathrine Reid of Lone Butte agreed the way to go could be an eco-friendly factory, but suggested perhaps it could offer jobs to workers formerly in the resource industry by reusing byproducts to create new, cleaner local industry.

Green products might include clothing manufactured from wood fibre, and value-added food production through sustainable ranching and farming methods.

“We’ve got the room to do it, and I think we’ve got the manpower.”

Barbara Hooper of Forest Grove said she wants to ensure a thriving arts community is preserved through the upcoming decades.

“The four pillars to sustain are economics, environment, social – and arts and culture.”

Peter Jarvis of 108 Mile Ranch said he would like the District to explore a potential for “co-housing” planned and managed by the residents, who share activities that may include cooking, dining, child care and gardening.

This could be located in a four-plex or a larger apartment building, and the residents could be anyone from the elderly to young people.

“You set it up like a community and it can be anything you want it to be.”

Other ideas tossed around included retaining the small-town atmosphere and ensuring the sustenance of a healthy community under any further economic development.

Doddridge said she encourages everyone to complete the three questions in the Miles Ahead online survey at

“What kind of shared future do we want for our community?”

This might involve things like sustaining or increasing its clean water supplies, agriculture industry, food security, forest resources, multi-generational families, she added.