City Council discusses environmental projects

By Kendra Caruso | Jul 02, 2019

City councilors discussed multiple projects to help address the future effects of climate change in Belfast at their meeting June 18.

Hank Reisner, a member of the Belfast Climate Change Committee, said he supports applying for an Efficiency Maine Trust Grant to build new electric car charging stations at the Bridge Street parking lot. The idea was proposed by Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge and City Planner Sadie Lloyd Mudge.

“In the spirit of our Climate Change Committee mission, which is mitigation and adaptation to the climate situation, this is a very important consideration to help create infrastructure for alternative energy, non-carbon-producing vehicles,” Reisner said. “So, I strongly support it, both as a citizen and a member of our Climate Change Committee.”

Councilors voted to approve the application that, if accepted, would help build a station that could charge four cars at once. Consumers would pay to charge their cars at the new station, which would offer more amenities than the existing free charging station in the Beaver Street parking lot.

Kittredge suggested this could be a DC fast-charging station, which would give customers 60 to 80 miles of range per 20 minutes of charging, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The economic development director also discussed the city's selection for a $20,000 forgivable loan from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Clean Water fund to pay for a climate adaptation plan for Belfast’s wastewater treatment system.

Mayor Samantha Paradis spoke of her excitement for the project and thanked Kittredge and all involved for acquiring the loan.

Councilor Mike Hurley segued into efforts of the Climate Change Committee, which is in the process of finalizing a High Water Mark initiative in Belfast.

The initiative, sponsored by the Silver Jackets team, is a product of many different state and federal agencies collaborating to bring attention to flood risks in participating cities.  This is accomplished by placing physical markers at high water marks resulting from storm-related flooding. It is an effort to promote awareness of the risks posed by flooding as climate change increases the likelihood of major weather events.

Paradis said more information about the initiative should be available in July.

Councilor Eric Sanders, also a member of the Climate Change Committee, mentioned a project to tally energy consumption, expenditures and waste by year that the committee is trying to put together. It is an attempt to track and monitor issues related to climate change for later generations to use as a starting point about future consumption rates, he said.

“We’re looking at strategizing a platform to show, in total, energy consumption, expenditures and waste is one of the biggest categories we’re looking at,” Sanders said.

Director of Codes and Planning Wayne Marshall updated councilors on the progress of a riprap project near Belfast City Park. Riprap is loose rock placed near a waterway to reduce erosion.

The construction date is set for Oct. 31, and will run from three to four weeks, according to Marshall. It will cover about 460 feet of shoreline and cost $75,000, he said. Steps at the pavilion will be eliminated because of safety concerns and the other set of concrete steps will be relocated.

Last year, the council was shown six different areas of erosion with repair costs totaling over $600,000, but councilors decided to choose the two most important projects to develop first.

Another riprap project is planned near the same area but the permitting process won’t start until later this summer, Marshall said.

 

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