BEECH MOUNTAIN – The Town of Beech Mountain held its monthly town hall meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9, in the council chambers, where Talia Freeman, director of marketing for Beech Mountain Resort, presented a sustainability program for the resort and community members.
Freeman’s effort is a sustainability program called “A Cleaner Mountain Starts with You.”
“I noticed people really care about a sustainable culture. They care about recycling. They care about the environment,” said Freeman.
The program aims at utilizing community effort to improve the conditions and increase the levels of sustainability around the mountain. Regarding the CMSWY initiative, which is currently being recommended to staff of the resort, season pass holders and local community members, Freeman notes that “We will use small steps forward to hopefully lead to a big impact.”
A sustainability program to focus on all aspects of the local mountain environment, coordinated by Freeman, aims at “providing access to nature, education for nature and show people we care about the environment.”
Freeman notes that over the last few years Beech Mountain Resort has installed new LED lighting to the slope lights, which she explained is 80% more efficient than traditional lighting. They have also donated their spent grain to the local Trosly Farm, gave their vegetable oil to local businesses for repurposing, only use biodegradable plant-based cups and provided staff members with refillable steel tumbler water bottles to reduce single-use plastic water containers.
For the future plans of the sustainability program, Freeman explained that the resort will be rewarding eco-friendly behaviors of the staff, plan to plant a pollinator garden, and establish informational signs on the ski lifts about local animals to educate its patrons.
“We have overhauled our snowmaking system over the last three years which has really helped conserving energy, and we’ve expanded our reservoir. We’re educating our customers that we are not using potable water, that we are recycling our own water system, and we care about that,” Freeman explained.
Freeman also explained the Do One Thing Initiative, where throughout the winter patrons and community members will pick one small act to help with the sustainability effort. Beech Mountain Resort and Freeman hope to garner 2,000 pledges with the help of the community.
Public comments were received during the meeting. Area resident Nick Wilson asked the council if an advisory committee for Buckeye Recreation Center is in place, and also inquired why a trio of individuals are working at the recycling center when, in his view, “It works fine with one person. It’s a little bit much in the number of personnel.”
The featured local business during the latest meeting of the town council was Elevate Your Style, a hairstylist salon on Beech Mountain Parkway.
It was noted at the meeting that the upcoming water and sewer project has a current price of around $6 million. The budget total combines water and sewer, yet water and sewer are different services that go hand-in-hand. The project will require an estimated 28,000 feet of pipe. The engineering aspect of the project is already under way with an estimated construction start date of 2023. The large project also has an estimated completion time of 18 to 24 months, with milestones required to be met per the state government and loan condition.
Town Manager Bob Pudney updated with Covid-19 information at the meeting, noting, “Cases are slowly going down. We continue to monitor it. It is not gone but seems to be managed better.”
Pudney also updated the board regarding the municipality’s recently initiated dumpster program.
“The dumpster program that began October 1 is around 99% completed, (with) only one property were still dealing with, so that has been a success in the last 30 days,” explained Pudney.
The Beech Mountain Sledding Hill fencing and pads have been installed and are only waiting on the additional padding. Pudney said regarding the Hill update, “We’re going to make snow on the sledding hill not from drinkable potable water. It is coming from well water. That whole system has been configured and up to be tested.”
Beech Mountain is running a public awareness campaign to reduce fats, oils and grease in the sewer system. The FOG campaign or fats, oils and grease campaign was prompted by the state because not only do these substances negatively affect the sewer system, but also adversely affect the environment.
Regarding upcoming winter salt storage, Beech Mountain has been unable to get the recommended 1,000 tons of salt for treating roadways. A hurricane affecting Texas has affected the storage center where Beech Mountain is supplied its winter salt. Currently, the supplier has noted that it is being resupplied and the town will receive salt in the “near future.” The current storage is empty, however there are still 400 tons of salt in the old storage area, which is expected to get the town through the first of the year.