Southborough resident calls for energy sustainability committee


Southborough town iconBy Sara Brown, Contributing Writer 

SOUTHBOROUGH – Town resident Karen Wheeler wants to bring an energy sustainability committee to Southborough. 

During a May 4 Board of Selectmen meeting, Wheeler presented her idea to the board. 

“I am concerned about our planet,” she said. “I am worried about the cost of humanity if we don’t get the increase in climate under control.” 

Wheeler envisions the committee researching, advising and advocating sustainability options for the town in terms of long-term projects. 

She also hopes the potential committee will help apply for federal grants. She believes there will be many grant opportunities to pursue in the coming years, thanks in part to President Joe Biden’s administration and his positions on climate change and the environment. 

Wheeler said she would be in favor of re-starting the now defunct technology and recycling committee if selectmen were more favorable to that option. 

Director of Facilities John Parent said he liked the idea of the committee but has some hesitations. 

“There are a lot of deadlines and time schedules, and when you put in a committee in the mix, you can start missing deadlines,” he warned. 

Parent said the town is currently in the process of taking big steps to become more “green.” But, he added, it could use help with outreach to residents. He suggested Wheeler could let residents know what the town is doing, as well as how they can make choices in their own life to be more environmentally conscious. 

Vice Chair Lisa Braccio agreed. 

“Engaging the residents is also where you could be the biggest help,” she said. “We tend to fall behind the eight ball when it comes to outreach.” 

Selectman Sam Stivers worried about finding members for Wheeler’s proposed committee, stating that there are several current committees trying to find members. 

However, Chair Martin Healey didn’t share the same concern. 

“I don’t think it’s a committee we would have a hard time getting volunteers,” he said, “This is an issue on a lot of people’s minds.” 

Wheeler said she would continue to work with the town officials on how to develop the most productive committee for the town. 

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