Canton Sustainability Committee
One of the four goals of Canton’s Community Action Plan, adopted in 2011, is to “strengthen Canton’s future through sustainable development.” According to the plan, “the current generation of Canton citizens should meet its needs without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs as well.” The plan recommended community resiliency and smart growth practices by, among other things, development, maintenance and implementation of a Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) addressing food, energy, housing, transportation, waste, climate change and natural resources. Among the recommended actions of this goal was to develop a Sustainability Committee, which could then pursue and oversee some of the objectives of the goal.
To this end, Canton’s Sustainability was established in the spring of 2014. A student participating on St. Lawrence University’s Sustainability Semester undertook the coordination of the new committee as the community-based learning (CBL) component of his semester. Prospective committee participants were identified and general plans plans for getting the committee off the ground were set. The first meeting was held on April 22, 2014 – appropriately, Earth Day.
The role of the Sustainability Committee is to:
- Contribute information and expertise on issues of sustainability.
- Identify gaps and opportunities for sustainability projects and programming, and appropriate groups to fill the gaps.
- Offer assistance in project planning, implementation, and priority setting.
- Help build partnerships and make connections (networking).
- Provide education and awareness about issues related to sustainable development and environmental responsibility.
The committee’s principal areas of focus are food and agriculture, energy, and transportation. Other areas of attention could be housing, waste, climate change mitigation and adaptation, natural resources, open space, and land planning. In each of these areas, the committee supports and promotes smart sustainable practices that enhance Canton’s human, natural and financial resources. The annual Sustainability Action Plan provides a framework for the committee’s work.
Committee members are residents of the Town and Village of Canton who represent varied interests and sectors. Recent accomplishments include:
Energy: a successful local Solarize Canton campaign, support for adoption of municipal power by the Village, designation as a Clean Energy Community, and work toward certification as a Climate Smart Community.
- Transportation: encouragement and direction for the Town and Village to become Complete Streets communities, installation of bike repair stations in the Village, participation on the committee that worked to develop the community’s first Master Trail Plan.
- Food and Agriculture: coordination of a residential food diversion and composting pilot project; planning and implementation of a Local Food Local Places two-day technical assistance workshop.
The committee meets in the board room of Canton’s Municipal Building (60 Main Street) at 5 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. The meetings are open and everyone is welcome.
Current members of the committee include: Thomas Gokey, Nick Hamilton-Honey, Ann Heidenreich, Bill Myers, Klaus Proemm, Carol Pynchon, Cathy Shrady, Suna Stone, Tom Van de Water, Bob Washo, Doug Welch; Staff: Marty Miller, Village Superintendent, Leigh Rodriguez, Economic Development Director.