Council Votes to Join Resilience Agreement

At its meeting on Jan. 5, council voted unanimously to approve Town Manager Austin Faison’s request for Winthrop to join the North Suffolk Resilience & Sustainability Agreement.

The agreement forms a regional alliance between Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop, with a physical office located in Chelsea. Faison originally brought the idea to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council before introducing it to the neighboring cities of Chelsea and Revere.

“I have been advocating for a regional approach to climate and energy since I have worked for the town,” Faison told the Transcript. “A regional office could provide the resources necessary to treat these topics with the high level of importance that they deserve.”

Councilors were quick to throw their support behind the alliance.

“As seaside communities, we must be forward thinking in regards to climate change and address issues that our communities will undoubtedly face in the coming years,” said Councilor Tracy Honan in an email. “Reducing energy costs and emissions, and working towards climate resiliency and sustainability are things our towns should have started years ago.”

 She added that Winthrop in particular is very vulnerable to flooding due to being surrounded on three sides by water.

A vertical garden

Between May and July of 2020, Winthrop residents responded to an online survey regarding the short- and long-term goals the town should focus on. On the topic of climate and resilience, respondents said that infrastructure-based flood-risk reduction was their top priority.

The regional organization received $600,000 in funding from the Barr Foundation in order to realize the collaboration. According to its website, the foundation is committed to “advancing solutions in clean energy, mobility, and climate resilience.”

Office positions will be full-time, dividing their duties over each municipality. Each position will be paid an annual salary of $75,000. There will be a board of directors, with one member from each of the partner communities.

Winthrop would not be responsible for providing funding for the office until 2023.

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