Olds Sustainable Garden Tour with Jim Hole

The Green Thumb….. Green Life, Garden tour is the first annual garden tour for the Olds Municipal Library as a fund raiser for its building expansion project. The theme for for this years tour is sustainable yards. It will be held on Saturday July18, 2009  beginning at 10:30 am and culminating at 3:00 pm with High Tea at the Olds College Botanic Gardens.The tea also is featuring a  special guest speaker in the person of Jim Hole a noted Alberta horticulturalist.

The cost per is $30.00 and can be puchased by calling 403 556 6460 or visting the Library. Come on out and visit the sustainable Olds through selected yards in our community.

Olds Sustainable Living and Pathways 2 Sustainability Conference

Some members of the Olds Advisory Group for Sustainable Living had the recent opportunity to attend a conference in Cochrane. Our initiatives around the “grass roots model” of community-driven projects and input to governance were featured. Mayor Judy Dahl, Olds Institute Chair Stirling McLeod, and our Director of Corporate Affairs and guide along the pathway to sustainability for Olds, Nina Gales did an outstanding job in representing our projects and processes. Cody Becker, the new Chair of the Olds Advisory Group for Sustainable Living (OAGSL), along with committee members Caroline Bodmer, and Carol Jorgenson also attended and learned that the host of communities making great strides is growing.

We are fortunate to have had such a strong jump start in Olds, having the funding from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association to run our processes as one of 5 communities operating as pilot projects. If anyone was part of those first community workshops to help create the vision for our community, you can take great pride in reviewing the Olds Sustainability Strategic Plan, and the review of progress during the first year.  There is always room at the Olds Institute and the OAGSL tables for people who want to become more contributors to these processes, and no matter what the new or old wisdoms are that are brought to these tables, you can rest assured that you will find help in identifying resources and connections that will help build momentum for your project.

Caroline relayed enthusiastically on her return that she really enjoyed the chance to meet a wide variety of people and heard excellent speakers who have been leaders in sustainable thinking. Check out the Town of Olds website for more info!

Becoming a Fair Trade Town

On Tuesday May05/09 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, the Olds Advisory Group for Sustainable Living is hosting the second event in the ‘Food for Life” series, featuring Fair Trade. A representative from Ten Thousand Villages will make a presentation on Fair Trade and a facilitated discussion on how it works will follow. The event will be held at the Olds Curling Club. Please RSVP to Nina Gales at 403 507 4805 or email ngales@olds.ca

Click image to see full size

For more in formation visit  www.transfair.ca

Potential Economic Development and Real Estate Impacts of Olds FTTP Project

So what does this mean for Olds?  Here is one persons opinion (mine)

My technology motto/credo is “I do not know what I do not know” but intuitively I believe the Fiber to the Premises project (FTTP) means the potential for a huge internet play for Olds residents and businesses and has tremendous economic development potential for the town and trading area.

My reasoning is based upon five years of direct involvement through being a founding member on the Board of the Olds Institute for Community and Regional Development (OI).  The FTTP project is the brain child of the OI Technology Committee and has been championed by Joe Gustafson as chair.  The FTTP network, with its huge bandwidth and speed of uploading and downloading will provide Olds with the ability to have the triple play of voice, data and video at our door step.   It will be up to us as individuals or businesses to capitalize on it and explore “what we do not know.”

The potential economic development impacts as I see them can be seen as follows:

–  It could give Olds a leg up in terms of strategic advantage for the Town as compared to any community on Alberta’s “Highway 2 Corridor.”

–  It could gives OI the opportunity to create a technology based cluster of development (i.e Sillicon flats). The cluster could include both technolgy driven companies as well as those companies that need exposure to new technologies to enhance their productivity;

– It could provide the impetus for the development of some sort of unique incubation/commercialization entity for small and medium size business (SME’s) and supported by the development of an Angel/Venture Capital network (again the Sillicon Flats example).

– It could provide Olds with the opportunity to further capitalize on the graduates of the School of Innovation at Olds College.

Based on these concepts, the Business and Investment Attraction Committee (of OI) of which I am the chair, is currently exploring how we might promote this fiber capability based on the premises of  location, location, location and may be seen as follows

–  In terms of proximity to the Calgary Internation Airport (45 minutes away), we could prospect businessess who benefit from both technology and easy access to national and internation travel.

–  Prospecting the Corridor market from Calgary to Edmonton for the entreprenerus that can utilize the benefits of fiber connectivity.

–  Exploring how the local real estate market  could be impacted positively by this connectivity in terms of increased economic activity created by companies and indivudals moving to Olds.

 —  Opportunity for the ‘Youth’ to grow and flourish or return to Olds as residents, employees or entrepreneurs.

 According to Joe Gustafson ‘the Olds  Fiber to the Home (FTTH)project will provide a future-proof telecom infrastructure so Olds residents can obtain the latest Small Office/Home Office and entertainment services and the fastest residential and business Internet service in Canada. The network will be designed to accommodate more than one voice, data and entertainment service provider. A study of the US FTTH market found the average homeowner sees FTTH being worth an additional $4000-$7000 (US) per home in the future resale value of a home.”

–  In my view the FTTP can become our ‘economic oyster” as its benefits will contribute to our quality of life.  This means that living in a small town does not automatically disqualify any one from the latest of technology but perhaps in fact give access to the leading edge, rather than ‘sucking the hind tit  (translation availabe for those of non-agricultural background) which has historically been our fate.

–  Opportunity for the ‘Youth’ to grow and flourish or return to Olds as residents, employees or entrepreneurs.

I may be dreaming but I believe this will be Olds’ opportunity to leap forward.

These are just of my opinions.

Your thoughts and ideas are welcome.