Severn Sound Sustainability Plan


Because of its beauty, access to water and proximity to Toronto, the Severn Sound area is under pressure from growth and heavy recreational use. In 2003, the Severn Sound watershed was removed from the International Joint Commission’s list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern, having reached its goal of improving water quality with the completion of a Remedial Action Plan. But to ensure its continued health — as well as economic prosperity and quality of life for residents — the area’s municipalities realized a long-term sustainability plan.

In late 2007, the SSEA facilitated a partnership between the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the nine SSEA municipal partners to develop a sustainability plan for the Severn Sound area. The nine municipalities in the Severn Sound area were concerned for the future of the Severn Sound watershed. The basis of the plan was the “triple bottom line” which involved environmental, economic and social considerations when planning the future of the Severn Sound area. In order to ensure that the sustainability plan was truly a community-based effort, a Sustainability Advisory Team (SAT) was formed to help in the creation of the Severn Sound Sustainability Plan. The SAT consisted of over 50 individuals, with representatives from community organizations, government, businesses and cultural groups. The SAT met seven times through 2007/2008 and, with facilitation by our consultant Lura, provided a comprehensive comment and review of various aspects of the Sustainability Plan until the draft plan was prepared and released in December of 2008. For those that were involved with the SAT, we thank you for all of your efforts in the development of the Severn Sound Sustainability Plan. We especially want to thank the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation, who supported the process throughout.

The Severn Sound Sustainability Plan is a vision for the Severn Sound watershed to the year 2050. Under three Sustainability Pillars (Community Well-Being, Economic Prosperity, Environmental Integrity & Protection), the Plan includes Goals, Strategic Directions and Actions that will, when implemented, ensure the sustainability of the watershed for generations to come. The Severn Sound Sustainability Plan was finalized and endorsed by all 9 partner municipalities in the Spring of 2009.

In 2016, the Sustainability Committee supported Sustainable Severn Sound (SSS) in the development of an implementation strategy to help the communities in the watershed implement the goals and actions of the Severn Sound Sustainability Plan. With support from the municipal and community partners, SSS emerged as the center for collaborative climate change action in the Severn Sound area.  In 2018, SSS released the area’s first Local Climate Change Action Plan, and continued this important work by developing six corporate-level climate action plans for Severn Sound area municipalities which had committed to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program. These plans were developed to provide municipalities and their communities with the information needed to accelerate local climate action.​

Currently, SSEA is finalizing the integration of the SSS as a special project underneath the authority of the SSEA, which will allow for more capacity to realize these plans, while also building on the foundation ​of the work by both organizations to further include considerations for climate resiliency and adaptation. Moving forward, the SSS project will grow its climate-focused role and continue to add value for the Association’s eight partner municipalities while complementing the core environmental services provided by the SSEA.

For more information, please contact the SSS project’s Sustainability Coordinator at

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