Craik Sustainable Living Project
The Craik Sustainable Living Project Inc. (CSLP) is the first project in Saskatchewan designed to make an entire community sustainable.
In 2001, the Town and the Rural Municipality of Craik began working together to develop a long-term plan for a sustainable community-based project. The resulting CSLP is a non-profit organization that aims to advance the local use of more ecologically sound technologies and ways of living. It also strives to serve as a model to inspire positive change in other communities.
A wide range of sustainable alternatives-such as those related to land use, food and fibre production, shelter, energy generation and conservation, water and waste management, and recycling-are featured in the 4 key activities of this project, the Eco-centre, Outreach and Education, Community Action, and Ecovillage.
Craik's multipurpose "eco-centre" facility, which opened July 2004, features innovative and energy efficient building design and integrated heating, cooling and renewable energy systems. The facility serves as a focal point for indoor and outdoor demonstration and educational programming on sustainability. The 6000 sq ft post-and-beam building uses recycled timbers from grain elevator and straw bale insulation. For heating, it relies on passive solar design, a Finish-style solid fuel masonry oven, integrated solar hot water, and ground source heating systems.
Renewable energy system will include 3 KW photovoltaic cells along with a 10 KW or larger wind turbine. Rainwater is collected from the roof and composting toilets are being used.
The planting of shelterbelts and display gardens (xeric, native, and botanical) and general landscaping around the Eco-centre was initiated in May 2004. The shelterbelts will act as windbreaks and noise barriers, create habitat for wildlife, increase the biodiversity of the area, and contribute to carbon sequestration as it applies to climate change.
Outreach and Education programs are offered for children, youth and adults on climate change, renewable energy technologies, ecology, and sustainable living and land use.
The Community Action aspect of the project aims to elevate the level of knowledge and skills in the community in order that residents will have the tools needed to reduce the size of their "ecological footprint". Fourteen lots have been subdivided and the first home is under construction (2006) in a new sustainable housing development. Craik's eco-village will feature energy efficient housing and a shared land base.
Craik's environmental initiatives have attracted the attention of the Vancouver-based company Hemptown. The company has obtained 80 acres in Craik and plans to build a $5 million hemp mill in 2006. It will produce a new industrial hemp fibreglass product, named Crailar in honour of the town, and will source its hemp requirements from local farmers. Meanwhile, HELP International is working with Craik on sustainable technology development and Forest 2020 has planted 100 acres of poplar to sequester carbon, but also as a potential source of fibre and bio-energy.
In 2005, Craik received a Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Community Award for excellence and innovation in municipal service delivery that has advanced sustainable community development.
For more information, visit http://www.craikecovillage.ca. The website's photo gallery illustrates that the CSLP has become a focal point for innovation and community building. (Click on month/year and a drop page by month opens up, then select month and then Go.)