Community Perspectives on Built Environments

Residents who contributed to this Community Sustainability Plan said more should be done to spur stewardship and make environmental action not only the norm, but a source of civic pride.

Produce Food Locally
Residents suggested growing, processing and selling food locally to reduce the fuel used in transportation and to ensure the quality and supply of the things we eat. Several suggested starting a community garden. One recommended erecting a large community greenhouse to “produce our own fruits and vegetables, and would transform Hinton into a role model for other communities looking to reduce their ecological footprints.”
“Hinton needs to seriously re-examine the measures we are taking to protect our planet. A good place to start would be providing a way to encourage local eating.” - Community Consultation Participant
Improve Urban Design
Some residents said long-term community planning is weak and requires improvement. Recommendations included reducing sprawl, creating a centralized hub, linking neighbourhoods with trails, adding greenbelts, improving park amenities and ensuring lands are available for transportation by means other than car.

Use Renewable Energy
Residents and town leaders both say more should be done to promote conservation and alternative sources of energy. They recommended implementing green building standards and creating incentives to use alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and bio diesel.

Encourage Water Conservation
The future of the Athabasca River, our water supply, is cause for concern. Residents pointed out that the depletion of the Athabasca Glacier will reduce the natural flow in the river. One suggested installing residential water meters to encourage conservation, and encouraging reuse of rain and wastewater. Most urban commercial properties are metered for water use.

Simplify Waste Reduction
Residents said improper disposal of commercial and household waste (e.g., paint, medications and oil) contributes to pollution in the river. They also noted that some households lack space to store recyclables or don’t have a way to transport the materials to depots. Recommended improvements to the solid waste system include curbside recycling, waste separation, compost initiatives and charging a fee when household garbage output exceeds a set number of bags.
"I would like to see more environmental protection so that there is an environment for future generations." - Community Consultation Participant
Reduce industrial impacts
We heard the following concerns about industry’s impact on environmentally sensitive and scenic areas:
  • The best land locations in and around Hinton have been used for industrial and/or landfill developments
  • Our visible heavy industries, with their flares and smokestacks, are not appealing.
  • Noise and odour from West Fraser Mills Ltd. creates periodic issues.
  • The proposed Coalspur surface mine needs to address noise, air and water pollution as well as negative impacts to the look of the landscape.