Sunday, August 22, 2010

NRTA Gets Website Lesson & Hears Green-Wellfleet Plan

Yesterday Paul Pilcher, Chair of the Economic Development Committee, decked out in promotional T-shirt, spoke to the NRTA (Non-Resident Taxpayers Association) and I tagged along. His topic: Does Wellfleet need to change to remain the same?

The short answer is yes. Paul pointed out real estate has become unaffordable for young people raised here. He explained how our committee has zeroed in on the fact a seasonal economy cannot support year-round subsistence. This explained our choice of the “town for all seasons” model and our recommendation, to the Selectmen, for a new website:

A member of the audience piped up, “But I don’t want any more people discovering Wellfleet!”

Laughter rang out and gray heads bobbed in agreement. Indeed, we all realize the saturation point was reached this summer when PB Boulangerie Bistro became the gastronomic Mecca for New England and beyond. Paul patiently replied that our desire was to expand the shoulder seasons and make Wellfleet a viable destination during spring and fall.

Wellfleet’s young tech star Cristian Patapie then gave a demonstration of how works.

During the Q&A period, there were several questions on funding. (Taxpayers seem to care a lot about where money is spent, and they are right to remain vigilant.) Paul was able to assuage their fears. Someone asked about a pharmacy. Paul replied that it was part of the plan for the expansion of Outer Cape Health. Another person suggested activities at Thanksgiving. And one lady in the back – bless her heart! – asked about the placement of blogs on the new site. Paul explained Cristian is working on a blog-auto-update module. Of course, this was the perfect lead-in for me. Paul had provided attendees with a typed summary of our committee’s activities and areas of interest for 2010-11. I had come prepared to describe #6. Here’s what I said in the two minutes I was allotted:

“I write a blog about living in Wellfleet and being a green innkeeper. Before moving here, I came every summer for 30 years. I’ve been following the green movement since 2004 when I started a green Bed & Breakfast in my mom’s old Cape Codder. At first going green seemed audacious. Now everyone’s doing it. Even whole countries. I was reading yesterday about how Portugal has gone green. If a country can do it, a small town like Wellfleet can, too.

Early on, members of the Econ. Dev. Com. touched on Wellfleet's becoming a "green" town as a motor for economic development and abandoned this idea as too progressive. A year later, it’s almost trendy. People seem more ready to accept green initiatives. So, when Paul asked members to form sub-committees, of course I chose GREEN. As usual, our Library is leading the way with solar panels. Town Administrator Paul Sieloff is totally on board. He’s checking out a way of greening town properties.

There are several green movements in town: Cape Cool, the Recycling Commission, Sustainable Wellfleet. I hope to have reps from each one in my working group.

You may know that I have been very active in the movement to stop the utility company from spraying herbicides under the power lines, so besides taking on the bed & breakfasts, toxic chemicals in the environment will be my personal focus.

Has this been done before? Yes, Marblehead was shifted non-toxic, as was Dubuque, Iowa, whose new green profile attracted national attention. No town on Cape Cod has gone green yet. I hope Wellfleet will choose to lead the way.”

Several people approached me afterward, and two signed up to join the working group. Progress, don’t you think?

Have you visited the new website yet? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? Where do you think Cristian should put Chezsven Blog: Wellfleet Today?