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Sustainability Advisory Committee

Posted on: December 20, 2021

Sustainability Advisory Committee 2020-2021 Recap

West Goshen Sustainability Logo_03.2021

The SAC helps guide the Board of Supervisors (BOS) on the development of sustainable policies and practices for West Goshen Township by promoting environmental awareness through strong community connections, outreach, and workshops.  Additionally, the SAC is committed to increasing sustainable behaviors by fostering individual responsibility for living sustainably, and aims to create a vital, ethical, and prosperous civil society. The SAC is excited to report on accomplishments since our establishment in September 2020. Many of these goals are either in their final steps of completion or completed. One of our very first initiatives was to develop a logo, which you can see above. Others include:

Single-use Plastics Ordinance. Since the 1950s, single-use plastics have revolutionized a modern and convenient lifestyle, and simultaneously created one of the most pervasive pollutants on the planet.  Recognizing the harmful effects of single-use plastics, the BOS reviewed a draft ordinance at the November 16, 2021, meeting. Following advertisement of the ordinance and a period for public review and comment, the board will vote on it at the December 21 meeting.  If the ordinance is approved, at the end of a six-month grace period all bags at grocery and retail stores must be either reusable or be made of recyclable or decomposable materials. Ditto for straws.  The Township is already working with the business community to discuss the measure and smooth the transition to a reusable and recyclable future. For more information, please see the eNews article  “Single-use Plastic Bags and Straws: Plastic is Not so Fantastic,” here. (https://www.westgoshen.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=234)

Arbor Day, Tree Ordinance, and Tree City Certification. The benefits trees bring to urban and suburban environments are endless, and by earning Tree City USA recognition, our community can experience them firsthand. The Tree City USA program provides communities with a four-step framework to maintain and grow their tree cover, and also provides an avenue to celebrate the work, showing residents, visitors, and the entire country that we’re committed to the mission of environmental change. To advance this initiative, the SAC dedicated our very first historic weeping beech on Arbor Day in April and drafted a proposed tree ordinance that will go before the BOS on December 21. The purpose of the tree ordinance is to establish standards and provide for accountability for the planting, care and removal of trees on public property and in the public right-of-way. If passed, the ordinance will lead to the Township receiving Tree City USA status in January 2022. Additionally, the SAC has involved students from West Chester University to help determine tree cover, carbon sequestration, and other benefits of trees in all of WGT’s parks. 

Transitioning WGT’s Fleet to All Electric or Hybrid: The SAC provided an analysis of the Township’s vehicle fleet towards the goal of transitioning over time to all-electric and/or hybrid vehicles. One electric vehicle was purchased by WGT in 2021 to evaluate how these vehicles perform as police interceptors and/or for administrative use.  

Solar Ordinance. The SAC proposed revisions to the existing solar ordinance to make it more desirable for contractors to get on board with solar panel installation. The cost of solar panel installations continues to decrease precipitously, making them more affordable. 

Looking towards the future, in 2022 we plan to establish a community garden to serve WGT residents. We will continue our efforts to educate about climate change impacts (stormwater runoff, excessive heat, increased storm frequency and severity) on WGT’s residential and business communities, and how we can all help to limit further warming through our daily actions. If there are topics that you would like to bring to our attention, please contact Supervisor Ashley Gagne via email.  

Warmest wishes for a happy holiday season

The SAC

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