Notes from 4/18 meeting of Sustainability Advisory Committee
I am, as usual, impressed by what this Committee does to move the City toward resilience. Today's items for discussion included:
-- A resolution to name Asheville the inaugural Bee City USA received SACEE's full support.
-- Discussion of the decision by New Belgium Brewery to establish a facility in Asheville. Cecil Bothwell emphasized that they wanted to come here because of what's here in terms of environmentalism and "green" economy, not because Asheville bribed the company with financial incentives.
-- That led into conversation about electric and hybrid vehicles in our area. We have, according to Cecil, the greatest percentage of hybrid owners of any county in North Carolina. We also appear near the top in terms of electric vehicles owned. There are at least 15 fast charging (30 minutes to full charge) stations in and around Asheville. A plan is in the works to put a fast charging station at a restaurant midway between Atlanta and Asheville so as to attract Atlanta travelers who own electric vehicles. The new Chief of Police for the City gave enthusiastic approval for purchase of a Chevy Volt for the department. And, it appears that one or two rental car companies in our area will soon add electric vehicles to their fleets.
-- You might want to sit down for this one, Stan. One of the new members of the Committee brought a proposal to ban single-use plastic bags in the city. Other Committee members felt that much more research needs to be done before the proposal can go to City Council, but no members opposed the idea in principle. More discussion is sure to follow at next month's meeting.
-- The revised approved tree list for the City, which includes a significant number of edibles, is almost ready to go to City Council.
-- When you get a chance, I hope you'll take a look at the City's Strategic Operating Plan for 2012-2013. It includes a lot of goals and objectives related to sustainability/resilience and a commitment to multimodel transportation (it's about more than cars).
-- I asked Maggie Ullman, Sustainability Director for the City, whether there are ways volunteers might be involved in their projects. The answer was an emphatic YES! So, I will be contacting Laura Piraino of the Sustainability Office to see what opportunities there might be for folks in our Transition network.
It's another of those times when I feel incredibly blessed to live here!