Local businesses have an important role and opportunity in providing services to support community resilience. Resilience also means supporting a vibrant local economy.
1. Create an eco-business association
Sackville businesses currently lack a business association, and the local Chamber of Commerce closed many years ago. Currently Sackville businesses have the option to join the Moncton Chamber of Commerce. Sackville Main Street Redevelopment represents the downtown business improvement area (BIA) and provides information for economic development for existing businesses in downtown Sackville and aids in promoting their appearance. An eco-business association could promote and support environmentally friendly businesses and assist others to become more eco-friendly. Improved communication and resource sharing, enabling businesses to feel part of the community could be another benefit.
2. Create a climate change economic plan
Businesses who responded to the survey would like to see a climate change economic plan developed that incorporates a vision of local climate resilience. Businesses would like a plan to guide actions with more intention. Such a plan could encourage more collaboration between businesses. Respondents would like a plan to help inspire and guide conversations with their boards and other businesses. Another repeated suggestion by business respondents was collaboration and input from local businesses, non-profits, and farms to provide employment, to create best-practices, and to create more resilient local systems. An eco-business association could coordinate a climate change economic plan.
3. Create an energy efficient facility for businesses incubation
For many years there has been a desire among Sackville community members to create a community centre for community groups and small businesses to share. It is a long-term project for the development of the town. Such a centre could house non-profit organizations, small offices, affordable meeting rooms, and enable tenants to share resources such as printers, receptionists, phones, etc. Ensuring the facility is energy-efficient and green contributes to the community’s overall focus on sustainability. Currently the Sackville Commons meet some of these needs and provides a space to co- work and support entrepreneurs.
How can co-operatives contribute to resilience?
Sackville is home to many co-operative businesses and charitable organizations such as Sackville Commons, Open Sky, Aster Group Environmental Services, EnerGreen Builders and Beausejour Renewable Energy, etc. Co-Operatives follow 7 principals including voluntary membership, democratic member control, member’s economic participation, autonomy and independence, education and training, cooperation among co-operatives, and concern for community. Co- operatives are known as resilient businesses, able to find creative ways to survive when other businesses would fold. They can be more stable in communities which will be needed as we face increasing unpredictability due to a changing climate.
4. Encourage local businesses to save energy
Supporting and encouraging local businesses and organizations to save energy is important to help businesses thrive, save money and reduce emissions. NB Power has a Commercial Building Retrofit Program: https://www.saveenergynb.ca/en/save-energy/commercial
5. Promote and reward environmental stewardship
EOS Eco-Energy hopes to offer a Green Shops Program, similar to a program available in Fredericton (https://greenshops.wordpress.com/green-shops/). The goal of the program is to reduce environmental impact through supporting, promoting and rewarding environmental stewardship within the business community. Participating businesses could be encouraged to implement actionable items which simultaneously reduce their environmental impact, reduce their operating costs, and help achieve a more sustainable community. Community not-for-profit organizations, including churches, should also be encouraged to save energy. Write articles and present local awards to promote businesses that prioritize environmental goals and climate change adaptation.
The Black Duck garden is an oasis of green amidst the surrounding concrete. Over several years, we transformed the area from a lawn and parking lot to an active ecological space. We planted a food forest with fruit trees and shrubs and built soil for vegetable beds including a greenhouse. Growing a variety of edible flowers and herbs provides habitat for insects and birds, and the garden has become a productive and beautiful space in downtown Sackville. – Sarah and Al
6. Create a facility for local farmers to sell their products locally
There has been a desire among residents, farmers and crafters to have a permanent location and enclosure for the Sackville Farmers Market for many years. Some local people look at the example in Wolfville, Nova Scotia where their market building is also solar powered: https://www.wolfvillefarmersmarket.ca. Supporting local farmers and crafters, shopping local, and reducing transportation needs and shortening supply chains helps a community be more self-reliant. Currently, local produce and crafts (including household supplies like soaps and cleaning products) are sold at the Sackville Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, Cattail Ridge Market, and some Sackville area produce is available at Ultramar and Hirtle’s Variety.
7. Shop local
Shopping locally keeps money local, reduces transportation costs, and puts money directly in the pockets of hard-working famers, crafters, and shop keepers. Locally made products reflect unique flavours, cultures and experiences. Shopping locally creates a vibrant community with a diverse and strong economy. According to the Better Business Bureau, when $100 is spent at a local business, approximately $68 remains in the local economy. Locally owned businesses are also much more likely to support local causes and contribute to the local community than large corporations. Local businesses create local jobs and are also more likely to support other local businesses, purchasing supplies or services from them and keeping more money in the local economy. More local businesses also mean more local taxes which contribute revenue for important community infrastructure. Shopping local translates into a stronger, more sustainable, resilient and vibrant community. Before ordering something online check with local businesses and if they don’t have what you are seeking, try asking them and perhaps they can bring it in.
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