Economic Development Corporation of Wawa Lighting the Path for Community Building

By: Nayel Halim (York Sustainable Enterprise Consultants)

The Economic Development Corporation of Wawa (EDC of Wawa) was the winner of this year’s Community Project of the Year Award presented by Enbridge Gas Distribution at the annual Powering Prosperity Awards event. The EDC of Wawa was recognized for its leadership in sustainable energy planning and demonstrating best practices for community partnership and engagement.

EDC of Wawa works with local businesses and all levels of government and community partners to facilitate sustainable growth within the community. The EDC of Wawa was contracted to develop the Wawa Municipal Energy Plan (Wawa MEP) for the Municipality of Wawa. This plan seeks to guide Wawa to assess its community energy use, explore opportunities to conserve energy, improve energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions, and support local economic development by considering the impact of future growth.

The major challenges associated with energy conservation and clean energy development often includes inadequate communication between authorities and local community members. The Wawa MEP project bridges this planning-implementation gap by establishing an EDC of Wawa Energy Committee to effectively oversee development of the planning process and actively engage with municipal, community, and energy stakeholder representatives, as well as maintain a strong partnership with the local distribution company Algoma Power Inc. throughout the project. The plan also emphasizes the need for stakeholder and public input into the plan by providing future opportunities for residents to provide input into the Energy Plan through surveys, social media, and workshops.

EDC of Wawa also provides a list of recycling opportunities in both Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie and arranges community clean up days. These sustainable initiatives align with the Wawa’s grassroots initiatives and vision that has created a highly interactive process that acknowledges the needs and wants of residents and commercial energy users. The energy plan implementation strategy involved an inclusive approach that lays out a comprehensive and strategic plan that considers the impact of each action on the social, economic, and environmental benefits to the community. This is a testament to an integrated and collaborative planning process that embraces community engagement,  and therefore demonstrates a proactive approach towards sustainable community building.

Learn more about the Wawa Municipal Energy Plan here

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