Opinion | Jeffrey Bergeron: Focus on quality of life, sustainability
- Occupation: Columnist for local and national publications. Recently retired from a 30-year career in TV and radio.
- Years in Summit County: 39
- Family: Wife, Ellen Hollinshead
- Civic involvement: Active in local issues commenting, volunteering supporting/opposing local growth and land-use issues for more than three decades. Served on many boards and committees, including but not confined to: Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, Breck Open Space, Summit Transit board, Breck Planning Commission, Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, Liquor Licensing Authority. Along with my wife, Ellie, spearheaded the Breckenridge Open Space ballot initiative which created the Breckenridge Open Space Advisory Commission. Served two terms on the Breckenridge Town Council, took four years off and served one more term.
I first arrived in Breckenridge in 1975. I’ve been here every winter since. Early on, I worked in the restaurant business, so I would have to go to another resort — Cape Cod, the Hamptons — in the summer. By the time a restaurant worker (or owner) could make a living here year-round, I had stumbled into a media career locally, regionally and, in a few cases, nationally for 30 years.
Through it all — as a waiter, bartender and later as Biff — I was active in and outspoken on local issues. Thirty years ago, I would show up at council meetings commenting (often opposing) a case of up-zoning or a development in an area that was environmentally sensitive, and it was like going to a knife fight armed with a Q-tip. Few could understand how I would not consider unbridled growth as progress. I think history has proven that, though property rights need to be protected, a judicious attitude toward growth and expansion then and now is more sustainable and a better catalyst for quality of life for our residents.
In 1996, when my wife, Ellie, and I became convinced that our town was being overdeveloped, we worked with others to begin a petition to get a half percent sales tax question on the ballot that would be earmarked for the purchase of land to be protected from development. Since then, the Breck Open Space and Trails department has spent over $22 million on over 5,000 acres of land for preservation and recreation
I’ve always been of the mind that we need to keep Breck, not only a resort but also a community. We all know the challenges of living in a resort: cost of living, traffic, crowds and people shopping at City Market wearing those hats with moose antlers on them. My mission — and the mission of the current council — has been to try to mitigate those impacts and to make sure Breck is not only a great place to visit but a great place to live. In my opinion, this is done by allocating funds for workforce housing, child care and mental health care as well as the rec center, golf course, ice rink, Nordic centers and public transportation.
I hope you will consider voting to reelect me to Breckenridge Town Council.
Prioritize quality of life
Continue to work to keep Breck not only a resort but more importantly a community. This is done by prioritizing the quality of life for residents and retirees. We love and need the guests. Their loyalty to our town brings both impact and revenue. We need to keep allocating some of that revenue to the facilities, services and programs that keep our community livable. Rec and Nordic centers, the golf course, child care and the never-ending battle to create, or cause to be created, housing both for sale and rent.
Continue sustainability efforts
Look for solutions to continue on the path to sustainability and a successful recycling program. Make sure our haulers are keeping trash and curbside recyclables separate. And to both encourage and improve the recycling experience. Look for a path to ban (or limit) the sale of single-use water bottles. Help to make it easier for bars and restaurants to recycle and compost. Encourage visitors to not bring a vehicle and locals to use alternative transportation: bus, bike, boots.
Encourage responsible pet ownership
Do whatever it takes to inspire, influence, seduce, mandate pet owners pick up after their pets. This is both a quality of life and public health issue on our open space particularly at parking lots and trailheads. I help spearhead an event called Keep Breck Duty Free, where staff and volunteers picked up over 200 pounds of dog waste at a handful of our most popular trailheads and trails.
Jeffrey Bergeron is one of nine candidates for four open seats on Breckenridge Town Council.
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