The Energy & Environment Committee is relatively new, but its tackling issues that have been around for a long time.
|Energy & Environment Committee Zoom Meeting June 23, 2020|
On Tuesday, the group met on Zoom like so many meetings are being held these days.
Councilmember Jeff Buchanan serves as the Council Liaison. Committee members include:
Kathleen Jones, Emily Robare, Amy Stielow, KC Chermak, Polly Anderson, Chrissie Olson, Alessandra Bajetti (student member)
“The creation of the Energy and Environment Committee really came out as a key initiative of the City’s 2040 Visioning process,” said Wayzata City Manager Jeff Dahl. “That engagement process included the involvement of several hundred community members.”
Wayzata has partnered with Xcel Energy and the Center for Energy and Environment in the Partners in Energy Program.
The program provides communities free services to develop an energy plan in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Wayzata is among more than 20 communities that are taking part in the program. Nearby communities of Minnetonka and Shorewood are also a part of the program.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the committee talked about the importance of obtaining grants as a way to fund the mission:
The purpose of the Energy and Environment Committee is to conduct research and provide recommendations to the City Council concerning energy and environmental issues and initiatives confronting the City based on research and collaboration with City staff. Under direction from the City Council, the Committee shall work to protect and preserve the ecological resources of the community so that they are in balance with the economic, recreational, and historic resources of our land and Lake Minnetonka for generations to come.
“There really is no capital budget for the group, so they are initially focused on engaging the community and information gathering in order to both conserve energy and sustain our natural resources,” said Dahl. “While this initiative will have positive net financial impacts to the community, it will lean heavily on grants to help with any major projects that need resources.”
A big part of the committee’s role is to act as a research arm of the City Council.
The committee is expected to make recommendations to the City Council that can inform environmental priorities into city departments and operations.
One idea is examining the fleet of vehicles the city currently has and exploring purchasing practices to best conserve energy and save money.
Improving water quality and conservation is also a priority for the group.
“It (The Energy & Environment Committee) will help build community and meet our overall vision, which is: Wayzata is a charming, socially connected, and walkable lakeside community,” said Dahl. “A multi-generational community at the forefront of sustainability, with a healthy environment, enticing parks and public spaces. It is a proud steward of its premier natural asset; Lake Minnetonka.”
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