Wellesley sustainability news: Climate Action Plan set for release; Donation to fund electric police vehicle; NRC has lots to say on track & field lights

Our roundup of the latest, greenest Wellesley, Mass., news:

Climate Action Plan set for release

Wellesley’s Climate Action Committee is readying to release its Climate Action Plan by the end of this month.

The plan to release the plan was discussed at the Committee’s most recent meeting on Jan. 14 (see Wellesley Media recording). A main report and appendix highlighting alternative scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions are slated for release, and will be available online.

A draft version of the plan was trotted out to the public and various town boards and committees in late 2021, following the kickoff of the plan creation process earlier in the year.

The plan builds on past and ongoing efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions and lays out the town’s proposed path forward to achieving net-zero town-wide emissions by 2050. The plan features a multi-pronged approach to hitting that target that includes focuses on energy, buildings, mobility, waste and natural resources, all backed by governance. Transportation and buildings are the biggest greenhouse gas sources in town, and residential properties make up the biggest chunk of those buildings.

The Climate Action Committee is focusing in coming weeks on identifying high priority actions to focus on across the various sections of the plan.

More: Wellesley town buildings to keep getting greener

Big donation to fund Wellesley Police electric vehicle 

A donor who wishes to remain anonymous to the public but is known to support police departments across the country, has given $150K to the Wellesley Police Department to use at its discretion.

Chief Jack Pilecki says the department will use a chunk of the gift to buy an electric vehicle, and will use other parts of the gift to support its community policing training and initiatives.

Pilecki told the Select Board, which on Monday approved the gifts, “You folks know I’m very green. I really want the Wellesley Police Department to be a leader among other police departments in our Commonwealth when it comes to paving the way toward a cleaner environment.”

The chief has reached out to the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant about getting a charging station at the department, but also to discuss a longer-term plan that could support bigger electric vehicles designed for longer shifts.

Wellesley's Wonderful Weekend
Wellesley Police Officer Allie Lucenta brought one of the WPD’s hybrid vehicles to the EV showcase during Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend this past fall.


A separate $10K gift will go toward supporting Winnie, the well-heeled Wellesley Police community resource dog that has assisted in situations such as comforting kids getting COVID-19 shots. The same donor enabled the department to buy the golden retriever from a breeder in the first place.

NRC has a lot to say about track & field lights

The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission devoted its Jan. 20 meeting to discussing the Wellesley Public Schools’ proposal to erect lights at the high school track and field. The discussion, which lasted more than three hours (Wellesley Media recording embedded below), hit on the significance of the impact such a change in use to the parkland would have upon the environment, neighbors, and users.

Whether or not to install lights at the field has been a long-running discussion in town, with those in favor arguing it would be a great community-builder and support student-athletes, and those against concerned about the negative impact on wildlife and neighbors. We recently covered the topic when discussed at Select Board and NRC meetings earlier this month.

In wrapping up the discussion on Jan. 20, NRC Chair Raina McManus said “I don’t think anybody wants to prolong this process, but it is a process and we are making progress. I think tonight’s discussion drilled down on a lot of issues here and we’ve seen solutions to some of them.”

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