York Region named among most liveable communities at UN-endorsed global event
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York won a gold "Whole City Award" at the 2008 International Awards for Liveable Communities presented in Dongguan, China earlier this month. The United Nations-endorsed LivCom awards recognize how a community is performing with respect to the cultural, political, economic, geographic and climatic environment in which they are situated.
York Region won first place in the population category of more than 750,000 residents. York Region's current population is estimated at more than 1 million residents.
"The Liveable Communities "Whole City" Award is a prestigious international prize that recognizes the kind of innovative and sustainable approaches our residents have demanded and supported over a number of years," said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. "It also recognizes the quality of our future plans, such as our recently-developed Sustainability Strategy, for effectively addressing our residents' needs over the next three decades."
The silver and bronze awards in the large cities category went to JiangYin, China and Johannesburg, South Africa, respectively. Previous winners include the City of Honolulu, the City of Chicago and this year's host city, Dongguan.
"Being cited as one of the most liveable communities in the world is an honour all of us in York Region can be proud of," said Town of Markham Regional Councillor Tony Wong, Chair of York Region's Planning and Economic Development Committee. "We will continue to address important issues such as creating and retaining a diversity of employment, protecting and restoring our natural heritage system and providing supportive infrastructure and adequate human services."
A total of 17 countries and 43 delegate groups attended the event. Presentations by the contenders were assessed by an experienced panel of experts in the field of local government planning, the environment and sustainability. The judging criteria focused on six key areas: Enhancement of the Landscape, Heritage Management, Environmentally Sensitive Practices, Community Sustainability, Healthy Lifestyles and Planning for the Future.
The winners of the Whole City Award, judged for their accomplishments as liveable communities from five population categories, were Greystones, Ireland (population up to 20,000), New Plymouth, New Zealand (up to 75,000), Broadland District, Norfolk, England (up to 200,000), Changxing, China (up to 750,000) and The Regional Municipality of York (over 750,000).
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