How did we do, and could we make it more sustainable? What is sustainability? The question has been at the core of our community conversation over the past year as we have wrestled with the vision we would like to embrace as a town. Envision 2020 and its vision statements adopted earlier this fall by the Board of Trustees have set our expectations for the future. Among them, this definition of what it is to be a sustainable Nederland: "Our community proudly maintains its small-town feel and distinct identity—a small is beautiful, less is more approach. While our town has grown, we have remained true to our origins while internalizing a model of sustainability in which a healthy society comes from a healthy economy and a healthy environment is essential for both."
We are working toward maintaining our community in every way – from economics to resource preservation. Sustainability is more than a concept, a debate, or semantics. It is the key to thriving in our mountain environment. I think it means:
- We apply a conservative approach to budgeting and financial oversight at Town Hall.
- We strive to minimize impacts on our environment via natural resource and drainage considerations in land use decisions.
- We manage our waste efficiently and are striving to meet zero waste goals in cooperation with the county.
- We have upgraded water meters around the community to efficiently account for our water resources.
- We will soon be able to encourage transit use with free community-wide EcoPasses, through a partnership with Boulder County and funding from the Denver Regional Council of Governments.
Most of these efforts have involved working with others for a greater purpose much in the same way the colonists did in 1621. There will always be trade-offs when more than one person lives anywhere. Community is not about winning or losing, rather it is working together to ensure a good quality of life.
The Envision 2020 statements put forth what that means for Nederland. I encourage you to review these on the town's website here. The Board of Trustees and I will be working with Town Staff during the next several months on plans to implement these points.
The greatest truth of all in the Envision document is this: "In Nederland, our greatest assets are our residents – the diverse people who live, work, play and contribute to all aspects of our unique mountain community." I hope to see many of you at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Community Center on Sunday, Nov. 20 at noon. Many of our neighbors volunteer their time to plan, cook, share dishes and serve us all this day. It is one of the best demonstrations of what makes us a community.