Officials struggle with sustainability
August 1, 2008
How can future generations enjoy the South Lake Tahoe quality of life?
South Shore agencies on Wednesday grappled with the concept.
The dialogue was part of a meeting hosted by the city’s Green Cities subcommittee – composed of City Council members Kathay Lovell and Mike Weber.
Lovell and Weber have been reviewing sustainability plans for cities such as Albuquerque, N.M.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Santa Monica, Calif.; so they can formulate a similar plan for South Lake Tahoe.
The plan would include steps public and private entities should take to maintain a high quality of life at the South Shore. The so-called sustainability plan also could make the city eligible for millions of dollars of state funding.
Energy consumption, recycling and transportation, green building, access to healthy foods and forest health are among the topics which could be included in the plan.
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Getting people interested in sustainable development also may be part of the plan.
“The participants (in Wednesday’s meeting) identified the need for public education, awareness and capacity building as an important component of the plan,” Green Cities project manager Darin Dinsmore said in a statement.
Ultimately, everyone who lives in South Lake Tahoe will determine features of the sustainability plan and not the City Council, Lovell said.
“It can’t just come from the council. It has to come from the community,” Lovell said.
But at least one South Shore sustainability proponent has concerns about the July 30 meeting.
Nikki Florio, founder of Tahoe Regional Environmental Education, questioned why more people already helping improve South Shore sustainability weren’t invited to the meeting.
Florio also questioned the green credentials of some members of the group, as well as those of Lovell and Weber.
“We have people that are going to make initial decisions for our community that have no clue what sustainability is,” Florio said.
Lovell defended the composition of the group and said certain people were selected “to flesh out some of the priorities so we can actually have a base to work with” before notified public meetings.
The council will discuss the group’s findings during a special City Council meeting Aug. 15. A public workshop on the Green Cities program is scheduled for Sept. 10.
The interim group also was formed over “a really short timeline” in order to present information to state officials during the Lake Tahoe Summit on Aug. 16, Lovell said.
This year’s summit is being held at the South Shore for the first time in its history. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are among the politicians expected to attend.