Breckenridge asks for public input on sustainability efforts in new survey released Monday

Stakeholders met to discuss updates to the town's SustainableBreck plan on April 13, 2022.
Town of Breckenridge/Courtesy photo

In about a month, a draft version of the new SustainableBreck Plan will be available, and Breckenridge Town Council checked in with sustainability staff and consultants working on the new plan for how the update is going. 

Jessie Burley, sustainability and parking manager, said that consultants have spoken to various leadership committees and groups — like child care and housing — to gauge priorities and where the town could improve environmentally. 

“We’ve been doing a lot of work, and the good news is that what we’ve been hearing from the community is that they largely concur with some of the recommendations you guys had right out of the gate back in April,” Burley said.

In 2008, the Town of Breckenridge began a series of studies and public meetings to identify how the town wanted to address sustainability. Then, in 2011, the original SustainableBreck was published, and it outlined a blueprint for how the town could sustain itself in the year 2030 and beyond.

Now, the town’s sustainability staff is working to update that plan.    

The final draft of the SustainableBreck update is slated to be finished by September. Town of Breckenridge/Courtesy image
Town of Breckenridge/Courtesy image

In recent weeks, the town hosted a public engagement workshop in order to gather opinions from the community, and the next one is planned for July 25 at Colorado Mountain College from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

On Monday, the team released a public survey to gather input that will guide the development of strategies to be included in the updated plan. The survey will be open until July 15. It is available in English and Spanish.

At that meeting, Deanna Weber, the principal in charge of the project, said that current public feedback is already influencing drafts of the plan and is continually changing as the team speaks with more groups. 

“We heard loud and clear from our last meeting, really, the emphasis and the focus to make sure that we really consider deeply environmental stewardship and what we call main focus areas of energy, water, material management, climate action and greenhouse gas emissions,” Weber said. “We also have heard the focus on livability. It’s about people and mobility being part of that. We’ve heard less, quite honestly, about governance.” 

Jerry Tinianow, a consultant on the update, said that Breckenridge is in a good position sustainability-wise, especially when compared to other mountain communities across the state. He added that 67 people — not including town staff or council members — attended the first public engagement meeting, and he hopes that more attend the July 25 meeting.

“What you’ll see in the plan is not so much on best practices or the things that have worked in the past but emerging promising practices because this plan looks out 10 years,” Tinianow said. “You will see some of these in the plans, things that are just surfacing now. We can’t call them best practices because they haven’t been around long enough to know if they really work, but they are promising. We’re putting some of those in there so that the town will be able to maintain its leadership role going forward.”

Tinianow said that some mountain towns are ahead of Breckenridge in renewable electricity use, but some towns like Aspen have better access to hydropower than Breckenridge. Another aspect that could affect Breckenridge’s plan is recent passage of sustainability legislation. One state bill includes a grant program to incentivize using electric vehicles for school busing. 

“My sense is with the grants in particular because part of the electric school buses is backed up by a new federal grant program for electric school buses,” he added. “While the town doesn’t control the schools, the town influences the schools and talks to the schools. You’ll see in our strategies there will be one strategy for the town’s own buses and another strategy for how the town works with other fleets in the area, like shuttles in the school and the resorts and so forth, to get everyone dancing to the same tune.”

Next, consultants will conduct interviews with stakeholders and have meetings with the Town Council. Data collection and analysis will occur, as well, along with digital updates of the process. In July, a draft of the plan’s revisions will be presented, and by September, the final version will be completed. 

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