Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mayor wants to 'Green' Niagara Falls

Mayor Paul Dyster gave his "State of the City Address" in Niagara Falls on Thursday. He presented five challenges: honest government, economic development, a livable city, keep our city safe, and create a green philosophy. The text of the last challenge is shown in full below.

Create a Green Philosophy

The last of our five major challenges is to create a "green" philosophy here in Niagara Falls to promote a sustainable way of life. Those cities that are most nimble in addressing the new challenges will become more prosperous. Those that lag will be left behind.

More than a century ago, Niagara Falls led the world by harnessing one of the world's largest sources of sustainable hydroelectric power. Our heritage demands that we lead the way again by developing renewable energy sources. And we must work to reduce our own use of fossil fuels, so that we can reduce emissions and make city operations more sustainable.

"Going green" isn't a fad. It is a way of life and must become a way of thinking that shapes the way we operate, the way we build, and the way we do business every day.

So we have started buying hybrid cars, including – you guessed it – the mayor's car. We've worked with the Power Authority to buy two electric vehicles for the Police Department. We are participating in a trial program for a fuel additive that may reduce pollution and improve gas mileage. We're working to reduce energy usage in city buildings, and we've started to replace old-style light bulbs with high-efficiency fluorescents. The first replacement bulbs were installed in – you guessed it – the mayor's office.

The new public safety building wasn't originally designed to meet green building standards, so I insisted that some changes be made. And thanks to our intervention, we will have a LEED-certified courthouse. We are also working with the Power Authority to reduce energy costs at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion.

And we're making sustainability a key part of the design of the Old Falls Street-West Mall reconstruction project. Our work will be a national model for reducing the rain runoff entering our sewer system, reducing the burden on our wastewater treatment plant.

Through the NFC Development Corporation, we recently created a grant program that will help businesses to modernize their facilities so they'll use less energy, replacing outdated lighting, furnaces and water heaters.

And in the future, we will explore ways to educate our residents about simple, day-to-day changes they can make to "go green" in their own households. This will include an outreach program to make sure our residents are recycling all the materials that they can – which will benefit the environment, reduce the need for landfill expansion, and improve the financial return on our city's recycling program.

Our city is known for its natural beauty. It is our responsibility to safeguard it. We must think green at every level of decision making. Working together, I'm confident that we will create a progressively cleaner, greener community.

The text of the complete speech is here.

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