Sierra Business Council wins Governor’s Award
Staff reportsThe Truckee-based Sierra Business Council was recognized with one of California’s most prestigious awards on Wednesday for its innovative approach in promoting environmental preservation and economic health in the Sierra Nevada.Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger honored the business council, an association of more than 600 business and civic members, with the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award. Schwarzenegger commended the organization for its “deep commitment to balancing environmental preservation and protection with the need to keep California’s economy growing.”The Sierra Business Council, the only Sierra organization recognized by the state, was heralded for its successful work promoting environmentally sensitive development and comprehensive land use planning. “This organization has shown vision and leadership in demonstrating the linkages among environmental, social and financial well-being and providing planning resources to one of California’s fastest-growing communities,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.The award comes on the council’s tenth anniversary. The business council was founded to work on securing the social, natural and financial health of the Sierra Nevada. “Sierra Nevadans treasure the region’s rural character, small town charm and beautiful natural areas,” said Tahoe City Assemblyman Tim Leslie. “The Sierra Business Council is tremendously effective at drawing people together from all backgrounds and perspectives, and working jointly to ensure that the Sierra of tomorrow is every bit as wonderful as the Sierra of today.” SBC’s most recent success story has been building a bi-partisan coalition of business and civic leaders, including Leslie, behind the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. This new California agency will invest in the natural, cultural, and historic assets of the Sierra and Cascade regions.Other projects the business council has headed include: • Investing for Prosperity, which shows rural communities how to make investments that ensure that all residents and communities thrive in the innovation economy. • The Sierra Nevada Wealth Index, which tracks the trends and conditions of the Sierra’s social, natural and financial capital.• Planning for Prosperity, which won a 1998 award from the American Planning Association for showing how communities can promote better planning in the Sierra Nevada. “SBC also uses on-the-ground projects to show how natural and financial capital work together,” says Jim Sayer, outgoing SBC President. “Placer Legacy, a partnership between Placer County and SBC, is our foremost example of how a broad coalition of developers, environmentalists, ranchers, farmers and business people benefit when growth is well-planned.” Placer Legacy won the Governors Award in 2002.Other SBC projects include: • In the Sierra Valley, developing a partnership of ranchers and conservationists to maintain ranching as a fundamental part of the economy and landscape. • Convening hundreds of business and civic leaders to find ways to meet the critical need for affordable housing.• Managing a partnership between Sierra ski operators and state and federal agencies to improve environmental performance while cutting costs.”A major reason we are being honored with this award,” says Paquita Bath, Interim President, “is our 10-year commitment to partnerships and collaborative processes. The success of our Sierra Leadership Seminar and other efforts to empower local leaders to find creative and collaborative solutions to the opportunities and problems facing the Sierra, [have] been the key to our work to secure a prosperous future for this incredible region.”
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