City Council homes in on sustainability

BURBANK — The City Council’s goals for the fiscal year that starts Tuesday will have an overarching theme of sustainability.

The council has decided to take on several measures to cut back on water usage, which will include tree planting, eco-friendly transportation and water conservation. The moves were necessary given the recent shortages in water supply and deliveries.

The city’s goals were discussed at the council’s Tuesday meeting and were initially decided upon at the council’s annual workshop in early May.

“The goals are visionary.  .  . especially because they are not just one-year plans, they concern the future well being of the city,” City Manager Mary Alvord said. “Sustainability is a big theme this year because water has been at the front stage of everything, so the urgency of it has made it a timely matter.”

More than 5,000 low-flow faucet aerators and 700 low-flow shower heads have been delivered to local homes and businesses, said Joanne Fletcher, assistant general manager of Burbank Water and Power.

“If all these products are installed, we will save about 100 million gallons of water a year,” Fletcher said.

The company will also launch electronic bill paying this summer, allowing customers to track their monthly and water consumption, she said.

The council approved an ordinance at its Tuesday meeting that will require energy-saving bathroom appliances for new construction projects in the city.

Councilwoman Marsha Ramos said she was impressed with the city’s environmental efforts and recommended that staff consider renovating particular neighborhoods to become more environmentally conscious.

“I recently visited an eco-village, which had benches with recycled materials and used macadamia nut trees, which were edible and sustainable,” she said. “I think the concept of putting areas like these in focused neighborhoods is a good one.”

The city’s transportation plan includes eco-friendly goals such as acquiring five natural gas buses and encouraging more residents to ride a bicycle to work.

“With the unprecedented fuel costs, more people are going to be turning to bicycling  . .  .bikes don’t use energy, they make you feel better and they reduce pollution,” Councilman David Gordon said. “However, I think a good idea would be to add an additional facility for business owners who can shower at work.  .  . because I know that I can’t commute in a suit in 100-degree weather.”

A bike station will be built at the rail station downtown, and several existing traffic signals on Magnolia Boulevard and Hollywood Way will also be renovated, said Greg Hermann, chief assistant community development director.

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