CORAL SPRINGS, FL – As the coronavirus crisis goes on, many experts believe another global emergency may be coming in the near future: impacts of climate change.
A lot of what can be done to potentially slow down sea-level rising and global warming can be done at the local level.
TAPinto Coral Springs asked the candidates in the 2020 Coral Springs election what new ideas/actions they would support the City of Coral Springs take to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the city.
Their answers ranged from improving the construction and design of local roads to adding solar panels on municipal buildings and residential homes to building a “smart” city through artificial intelligence and internet of things.
Here is how the contenders for Seat #3 and Seat #5 in the Nov. 3 election responded to the issue.
Abel Pena (Seat #3)
My vision is economic growth and improving citizen well-being by transforming the City of Coral Springs into a “smart city.”
We have an obligation to prepare future generations. As part of the smart city strategy, the first step is to develop a smart city technology roadmap (SCTR). The goal of the SCTR is to empower the municipal planner with knowledge, skills, valuable planning resources, and an understanding of the technology landscape (ex. artificial intelligence, internet of things, etc.) to create a smart city.
Smart city strategies are supporting the United Nations' sustainability goals and making city services more effective. This will make the city more attractive to investors, residents, visitors, and the business community. The links between climate change and sustainable development are strong. Climate change is the most significant challenge to achieving sustainable development.
Randal Cutter (Seat #3)
There are many creative ways that we can continue to help Coral Springs reduce carbon emissions, while at the same time that we beautify our city. Our tree canopy is growing, and we are seeing new ideas and discussion about how businesses can add even more green space to their construction projects.
I believe that more residents would be willing to use smaller electric vehicles for local use if we made special provision for them on our roads and around our businesses. This is one area that I believe we can explore without inconveniencing or excluding those who drive cars, SUVs, or trucks.
Nancy Metayer (Seat #3)
Addressing climate change in Coral Springs means transitioning current energy systems to renewable energy.
As Commissioner, I will work closely with the city manager and commission to reach a 100% renewable energy goal by 2030. Investing in renewable solutions is investing in our city. Solutions to the changing climate can include setting aggressive energy efficiency goals; incorporating emission targets into sustainability or climate action plans; developing financing models; promoting community choice aggregation; and working with Florida Power and Light to ensure they keep their promises and hit their green energy goals.
Our approach should be an all-measures style in which we all try our best to lower emissions. Having solar panels on municipal buildings is a personal goal of mine, along with building solar gardens, and helping residents install solar panels on their own properties. I am mindful that these are expensive programs that require investments and financing tools (including power purchase agreements, PACE funding, and public-private partnerships) that are needed to complete this goal.
To ensure Coral Springs are on board with these initiatives, the Commission must educate and communicate to achieve necessary buy-in. Our residents want a sustainable and environmentally friendly Coral Springs, and this is my vision for our home.
Andy Kasten (Seat #3)
I am in favor of doing all we can do from a city standpoint in the reduction of our carbon footprint. I think, however, that whatever we do we need to be cognizant of the economic impact to the city's budget as best we can.
I was involved several years ago with a discussion the chamber of commerce had about having businesses participate in mandatory recycling. On the face of it, many business owners were agreeable. However, we had several issues with how this could be accomplished and there were many roadblocks that businesses would not have been able to comply with, thus it was shelved.
We should, however, continue to pursue green solutions wherever we can, again if it is economically feasible. I would be interested in engaging citizens and business owners once more to get their input as to what they would suggest to help reduce our carbon footprint.
Noor Fawzy (Seat #3)
For Coral Springs, climate change is above all else an infrastructure issue.
To that end, we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by achieving better urban planning inside the city. Specifically, there are ways in which we can improve the construction and design of our roads to enable residents to more efficiently travel using their vehicles throughout the city. Notably, we are just starting to get funds from the Broward Penny Surtax initiative.
I believe we should invest those funds into developing and constructing alternative design street patterns inside the city to achieve our goal of reducing carbon emissions locally.
Joe Morera (Seat #3)
The continued expansion to alternative-fueled vehicles in the city’s fleet and public transportation that meet higher CAFE standards are positive steps in mitigating CO2 emissions.
The city has begun its efforts by converting street lights to LED, and with the installation of car charging stations and convenient parking spots for hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles. The addition of solar panels on municipal buildings and new construction, while encouraging LEED standards in new construction/remodeling is another beneficial option. Having tax incentive and support from the state and federal government will make this implementation more affordable.
It is something I strongly believe in and would advocate for whenever feasible.
Coral Springs Vice Mayor Joy Carter (Seat #5)
We are the problem in this reduction and too much of this is the lack of concern or the thinking that I am only one person!
I'm looking at a potential Citizens Sustainability Advisory Board, such as other Broward cities have and I'm currently working with the 30 other cities in Broward to come up with a way to reduce our waste costs and recycle more as the external markets have diminished.
In the last six years, I believe the citizens know my love and respect for our city/residents. I am accessible and attend most events to speak to residents in order to feel the pulse of our community.
Cathy Remy (Seat #5)
An approach I would take in reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the city would be offering an annual grant, which would return a percentage back to homeowners who take the initiative to reduce their carbon footprint. Homeowners who qualify for the grant would have to provide documentation of purchase, and installation of qualified smart meters, sealing air leaks, wall insulation, and compact fluorescent light completed by city-approved contractors to keep business in the community.
I am confident that my innovative ideas will garner community support on the premise of a cost-benefit assessment. My recommendations not only promote reduced carbon footprints, but benefit the homeowner with reducing heating and cooling costs; thus, improving longevity, promoting comfort, and allowing for a healthier indoor atmosphere.
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