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New Canton sustainability group brainstorming ideas

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CANTON — The new Canton Sustainability Committee has been divided into three subcommittees that will explore issues related to food and agriculture, transportation, energy and housing.

The sustainability group was launched earlier this year by Sean M. Morrisey, a St. Lawrence University student who coordinated the panel with assistance from Village Trustee Carol S. Pynchon and support from both the town and village boards.

The interest level so far has exceeded their expectations.

“This is a very positive, forward-looking group,” Ms. Pynchon said. “Because the group is so varied they’ve really come up with a wide range of ideas.”

Any community member interested in joining is welcome to attend the monthly sessions, with the next one scheduled for 5 p.m. July 15 in the municipal building, 60 Main St.

“This is not the least bit exclusive. The more the merrier. We’re looking for people who are passionate and committed,” Ms. Pynchon said.

A wide range of Canton residents has become involved in brainstorming ideas for community projects related to sustainability.

A community compost, solar panels for the municipal building, additional bicycle racks and an anti-idling law are just some of the ideas that have been suggested so far.

Mr. Morrisey, an environmental science and English major, described the Sustainability Committee as a grass-roots movement that can result in positive long-term changes for the community. His work is affiliated with SLU’s Community-Based Learning Program.

“It’s been nice to see so many people engaged,” Mr. Morrisey said. “Now we want to assess where we’re at, prioritize ideas and see where we can move forward.”

He will be a junior next year, which will allow him two more years to be involved in the project.

The Canton Community Action Plan identified sustainability projects as a priority for the community, but until now there hasn’t been a grass-roots effort to move them forward.

Ms. Pynchon said the sustainability committee is a positive “town-gown” opportunity that could lead to improvements and possible cost savings for the town and village such as reduced energy expenses. Eventually some grant money may be available.

“I love the idea of the town and village engaging with university students. They have an enormous amount to offer and this is a good way to get them engaged in life in our town,” she said.

For more information, contact the village offices at 386-2871 or Ms. Pynchon at cpynchon@cantonny.us.

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