Finding Middle Ground: Waterford joins sustainable certification program

On April 1, the Waterford Representative Town Meeting passed a resolution “Supporting Participation in the Sustainable CT Municipal Certification Program” and on April 4, according to the Sustainable CT Web Site, Waterford was registered for the program.

As noted on its web site, Sustainable CT’s mission is to “provide municipalities with a menu of coordinated voluntary actions, to continually become more sustainable.” It also points out resources and tools that may be used to implement sustainability actions and advance programs for the “benefit of all residents.” To encourage municipalities, the program offers Bronze or Silver Certifications to municipalities that complete a certain number of the tasks and activities on the “Master Action List.”

This list is divided into 10 major project headings: Thriving Local Economies, Well-Stewarded Land and Natural Resources, Vibrant and Creative Cultural Ecosystems, Dynamic and Resilient Planning, Clean and Diverse Transportation Systems and Choices, Efficient Physical Infrastructure and Operations, Strategic and Inclusive Public Services, Healthy, Efficient and Diverse Housing, Inclusive and Equitable Community Impacts, and Innovation Action.

To obtain these certifications Waterford will have to complete at least one action in each of the first nine categories and many other requirements by Aug. 30.

Joining the program also permits Waterford to apply for grants that will assist in the completion of the listed action items.

According to the Sustainable CT website, the benefits of completing action items include:

n Cleaner air and water, and enhanced preservation of land and natural resources;

n Reduced greenhouse gas emissions;

n Optimal health and wellness for residents of Waterford;

n Cost savings for municipal budget and government operations;

n Stability and growth for local businesses and job retention and creation;

n Improved ability of Waterford to anticipate, adapt and flourish in the face or disruption;

n Enhanced connection of residents to community, engaged partnership to improve Waterford, and enhanced resident awareness; and

n New, improved, and valued relationships between different members of the Waterford community.

The resolution also established a Sustainability Committee of five to seven members appointed by the First Selectman and chaired by the Planning Director, Abby Piersall.

Piersall said “the Sustainable CT program will help Waterford promote important sustainability work being done throughout Town departments and the community. The program recognizes efforts that have already been completed and helps us organize our future work in a holistic way.”

Piersall believes that Waterford may be eligible for points already earned in several areas, including creating watershed management plans; completing an open space inventory, and assessing climate vulnerability.

In addition, work underway for Nevins Cottage would count under Assessing Historic Resources and Benchmarking and Tracking Energy Use began in 2016 and will be updated this year.

It appears that Waterford is well on its way in obtaining a certification in the Sustainable CT program.

John W. "Bill" Sheehan is a former Democratic Town Committee chair in Waterford.

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