At the Town Council meeting on March 10, members voted to adopt the Sustainability CT standards in order to put Cheshire on a path towards sustainability.
A proposal for the town to adopt the standards laid forth by the statewide program, and to register the Town with Sustainability CT, was presented to the Council at the February 11 meeting by Alyssa Norwood, Sustainability CT’s Program Manager.
The proposal comes to the Council after a push from the Coalition of a Sustainable Cheshire to get the Town registered through Sustainability CT. It was spearheaded by the groups Board of Directors, co-chaired by A. Fiona Pearson, a Sociology professor at Central Connecticut State University and Karen Schnitzer, the Vice President of the Cheshire Land Trust.
“All of our Coalition for a Sustainable Cheshire members were extremely excited to have the Town Councilors unanimously support us in our effort to bring Sustainable CT to Cheshire,” Pearson wrote in an email. “Throughout the process, Coalition member Jim Jinks was indispensable in helping us to bring this initiative to the Town Manager Sean Kimball, and to Town Council leadership. Between the February and March Town Council meetings, both Rob Oris and Sylvia Nichols asked relevant and thoughtful questions of us about the initiative and how it functions to bring individuals, organizations, and municipal representatives together.”
Pearson commented on how happy she was to see that the Council was receptive to the concept almost immediately, and credited members for asking probing questions.
“We appreciate all Councilors’ words of encouragement and their taking the time to research and learn more about the initiative in such a short time frame,” she added.
Over 100 towns have adopted the Sustainability CT standards, and Cheshire is just the newest addition to what the group hopes will be a state-wide partnership among municipalities to combat climate change and provide economic assistance to any local non-profit group or individual looking to add sustainability projects to the community.
“I would like to say that I am in favor of this program and I am in favor of the Town Council making a concerted effort to expand Cheshire’s sustainability throughout,” said Councilor David Veleber.
Fellow Councilor Sylvia Nichols also voiced her support.
“We try to do a lot of sustainable projects as a Council, but oftentimes those efforts are pushed aside as we get busy,” she added.
The proposal was then passed unanimously by the Council.
Now that the proposal has passed, the Sustainability Team, members of which will be appointed by the Council in the coming weeks, will begin the process of assessing what sustainable initiatives Cheshire has already completed, and which the town should consider adopting. The Sustainability Team will consist of various town residents, and Oris was quick to point out the significance of diversity in this group.
“Cheshire is a very sustainable community already and I am excited to see what is instore for us,” he began. “But I want to make sure the sustainability team is made up of members of the community who represent a variety of different backgrounds.”
Members of the Sustainability Team will be chosen based on their diversity, experience, and dedication to making Cheshire a sustainable town. In order to create a sense of cohesion between the Town Council and the new Sustainability Team, Assistant Town Manager Arnett Talbot was named as the team’s contact, allowing for the two groups to actively communicate with one another seamlessly.
Due to the coronavirus, there is no date set for the Sustainability team to meet, and it is unclear as to when the team members will be announced.
If you would like to be a part of the Coalition for a Sustainable Cheshire, email SustainableCheshire@gmail.com.