SAB talks about design projects and plastic bag ban

SAB talks about design projects and plastic bag ban

The Netherlands’ Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) met on Monday, October 23, 2023 at 6:45 pm to discuss student design projects and review the 2024 plastic bag ban.

The meeting began with Mayor Billy Giblin announcing a new open position on the Board of Trustees. Qualified individuals are encouraged to apply, and additional positions will be available in the spring.

The team was reminded of upcoming opportunities to assist with Godot Communications’ visual identity recovery project. Godot and Nederland aim to create a brand and creative identity for tourists visiting the Netherlands. Rather than attracting more tourists, the goal is to communicate the city’s story to visitors. Godot plans face-to-face interaction with the community, as well as sessions to gather input and ideas for the project. They will announce the November and December sessions once they get feedback from the October meetings.

SAB received comments from the BOT regarding amendments to the Rights of Nature Resolution and the appointment of guardians. Giblin, along with Jennifer Madsen, city attorney, and Aaron Ladd, the city’s water attorney, coordinated a new draft to present to the council. The new draft aims to address unintended challenges and provide clearer expectations for guardians. SAB moved to send the revised decision to the BOT.

City Manager Miranda Fisher told the committee that Colorado School of Mines students chose Holland as the site for their subsystem design project. They are working on setting up a storage system for electronics recycling, and SAB will help them. The next steps are to discuss the location, weather, and project security with the students.

In response to the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of 2021, effective January 1, 2024, SAB has updated municipal ordinances implementing the law. The team advises a direct ban on plastic bags and polystyrene completely.

There will be a fee for paper bags of ten cents. It is up to each municipality to decide what to enforce – the state does not manage the collection of any of these fees. As for the distribution of fees, 60% will go to the city, and 40% will go to the retailer or food establishment to cover any additional costs that may occur.

The new law addresses why the SAB does this and details the ban while explaining implementation. Currently, farmers markets and pop-up events are excluded from the ban. The committee discussed exchanging reusable bags to encourage the community to prepare for the ban to take effect.

The Master of Environmental Sciences (MENV) Capstone Project is implemented by University of Colorado Boulder MENV graduate students who conduct surveys of existing statewide outdoor programs in eight Western states. The goal is to create a research-based roadmap for responsible tourism (not increasing traffic, but managing traffic) in relation to sustainable practices.

They will identify revenue generation opportunities and assess potential risks while taking into account equity of access to tourist attractions and trails. SAB and other boards will propose a draft to the BOT and then present their ideas to the students. Next, students will decide which project they would like to work on, and finally, students will work alongside a committee to implement the project.

The project was approved by the BOT after extensive discussion. They raised concerns about the specific revenue estimates and allocation for the project. The BOT requested concrete forecasts or estimates of potential revenues to justify financing. In response, SAB included various revenue sources and a range of revenue amounts in the proposal. They will analyze visitor numbers, income and interests to model sustainable visitation scenarios.

If accepted, the Construction Debris and Vandalism Deposit Program could reimburse the city $2,500 per student for three students, for a total of $7,500. Once approved, SAB will present its project plans to students on November 17.

The SAB discussed a follow-up to the August meeting where Partners in Energy (PIE) presented their gap analysis in the city’s energy goals. They wanted SAB to decide specific areas they would focus on so the city could “close the gap.” SAB will continue to work to achieve the 2025 target by focusing on commercial and municipal financing sources.

Leah Haney presented the comprehensive report at the end of the meeting and addressed other matters. It stated that the group is not moving forward with Carshare; However, SAB plans to reach out to Colorado Carshare individually to see how they can get the program without funding if there is a revenue opportunity for them.

In the coming weeks, SAB will be meeting with Drive Clean Colorado to obtain writing resources to pursue some potential collaborative grants.

The Rooftop Solar campaign through Solar United Neighbors achieved strong results. Eight community members have registered for the program.

Unfortunately, there is no full-time sustainability coordinator in the 2024 budget. After 2025, the “year of stability,” SAB hopes to have the funds to fill this position.

The Netherlands Sustainability Advisory Board meets on the fourth Thursday of every month. The November meeting will be on Thursday, November 30, 2023, and the December meeting will be on Monday, December 18, 2023. For more information, go to: townofnederland.colorado.gov/sustainability-advisory-board.

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