In this paper, we question the importance of social capital as a primary indicator of a community's ability to engage in sustainable development as social capital can have both hindering and facilitating effects. We suggest that actor agency allows an individual or group to increase access to other critical forms of capital to overcome barriers and solve problems. We present 'bonding' social capital consisting of strong network ties as a negative in excess quantity as it can lead to the enforcement of social norms that hinder innovative change, and 'bridging' social capital consisting of weak network ties as a benefit that allows actors to bring about critical social changes. Communities achieve agency through a dynamic mix of bonding and bridging ties. We close with suggestions for fostering community agency and flag the need for further research in this area.