There are 2 candidates running for the 2, three-year-term seats for Board of Selectman. The Board of Selectmen serves as the chief executive board of the Town, and as such, oversees all matters affecting the interest and welfare of the community. The Board exercises the authority vested in the Town not specifically assigned by law to any other board or office.
What is your track record on sustainability, including any particular interests and experience with sustainable ideas and initiatives?
I have not been employed in an industry or specific position directly related to sustainability. My experience is with the personal choices my family and I make on a daily basis. Our approach to energy conservation at home, recycling, and food are consistent with the goals of optimal sustainability.
Beth Sullivan Woods
I am a strong believer in sustainability and the importance of the 3R philosophy. As a family, we are avid recyclers and proud users of our amazing RDF facility, including the take-it or leave-it swap area. Not surprisingly, we take advantage of the collection at the Library for movies and books; our home library is filled with “recycled” books and movies purchased at the Friends of the Wellesley Free Library book sale, and we donate back the materials we no longer use so they can be enjoyed by others. We shop locally whenever possible, and enjoy the Wellesley Farmers’ Market.
As a Town Meeting member since 2009, I have voted in support of the key sustainability initiatives that have been brought forward, including funding the restoration of Fuller Brook Park, enacting the tree by-law, supporting overlay protection to NRC land, and implementing the plastic bag ban.
I currently serve on the Library Board of Trustees and we recently voted to have library lands maintained according to the NRC’s Organic Integrated Pest Management plan in order to cut down on harmful chemicals in our environment.
How do you see sustainability as a factor in the development of policy for the Town of Wellesley?
The Town of Wellesley has established an interest in and a willingness to evaluate and implement sustainable choices. Whether it is the MLP (Municipal Light Plant), the PBC (Permanent Building Committee) working with the schools and the FMD (Facilities Maintenance Department), or the recent implementation of the plastic bag ban, the town and its residents have demonstrated a willingness to incorporate sustainability in our long term decisions and personal lives. Wherever applicable, sustainability should continue to be a consideration in the way we approach projects and town policy.
Beth Sullivan Woods
Sustainability should play a critical role in how our town approaches all projects, and be embedded from the beginning. We need to continue to build on and support the efforts of our boards, committees and staff to improve energy efficiency in our town buildings, maintain our beautiful open spaces which act as important natural resources, and identify strategies to alleviate traffic as well as cut down on fuel use and emissions. I’m excited about the prospect of obtaining Green Community status for Wellesley in order to be eligible for grants for projects that will help us achieve our town’s carbon reduction goals.
The Selectmen should seek early engagement with the SEC, NRC and other non-government groups in town as part of development decisions and building design.
What specific new initiatives related to the environment should the Board of Selectmen undertake in your prospective first term?
The Unified Plan is well underway and in the course of the planning process the committee has asked for participation in surveys that ask about public attitudes toward sustainability in Wellesley. This information may be the most current data we have as a town in terms of public perception and support for this issue. It is important to develop policy and identify initiatives consistent with town wide opinion and priorities. Some of these decisions are easily made where there is a clear return on our investment. As a new Selectman, it is important to first understand the Board’s view on sustainable practices and then to understand the projects where sustainability is a concern and the Selectmen are involved. Once understood, choices may be made regarding environmental initiatives.
Beth Sullivan Woods
The upcoming partnership with the Board of Selectmen to co-host the gas leak forum in order to aggressively address the numerous gas leaks in town is an example of the type of partnerships that should be embraced; I would like to see the BOS encourage more of these town-wide collaborations. I believe the schools are playing an important role in educating our children about sustainability and the environment so that they are empowered to think and act sustainably; these types of programs should be celebrated. Finally, I look forward to working with our knowledgeable and talented citizens who so generously and passionately give of their time and energy towards this end, and as a Selectman will encourage and welcome their ideas and participation.