DUNEDIN — Sustainable gardens in affordable housing areas and developments. Living shorelines. Hurricane preparedness. Public transportation. Plastic reduction. Edible landscaping.
These are just a smidgen of topics and issues that a group of city officials and other stakeholders are addressing as they work on Dunedin's Resilient Environmental Action Master Plan, better known as DREAM.
"(It's) just that overall idea of dreaming what our city should look like down the road and how we are going to incorporate sustainability throughout the process," said Natalie Henley, city sustainability coordinator, solid waste division.
She was speaking at the third planning meeting on DREAM Jan. 15 at the Dunedin Public Library. Members of the Dunedin Committee on Environmental Quality attended along with other stakeholders.
The DREAM plan is designed to set in motion several projects Dunedin is undertaking. City documents that are referenced in the process include the comprehensive plan, strategic plan, stormwater master plan and other studies.
Along those lines, the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition, which is made up of members from Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas counties, is hoping to come up with a regional definition for its entities to follow.
The city's project list under consideration is large but exciting because of its impacts, Henley said. Moving forward, the committee overseeing the plan will be categorizing the projects, discussing different stakeholders and creating work groups to start writing and discussing what projects will be short-term, mid-term and long-term.
Henley was asked to discuss Ready for 100, which is the city's commitment to have 100 percent cleaner, renewable energy.
She explained that the city's goal is to be powering municipal operations entirely with renewable energy sources by 2035 and community-wide by 2050. The cities of St. Petesrburg, Largo and Safety Harbor have also signed off on that goal.
"I think it would be safe to say that the Ready for 100 precipitated this plan," said Alan Brand, a member of the Dunedin Committee on Environmental Quality.
Essentially, every topic that the committee is working on and trying to accomplish is going to be impacting climate change, whether it's clean energy, building codes, stormwater and other issues, Henley said.
"It's so important to the commission; it's so important to the city. It's really tying everything together. It's showing that we are on the same track, and we're not off in the fields doing something else," said Lael Giebel, assistant to the city manager. "I just think it's great."
The timeline for the DREAM plan this year includes data gathering, setting goals, holding community forums, engaging stakeholders and writing plans. The DREAM plan, according to the city's website, is slated for completion in May or June 2021.
Other municipalities' similar plans were examined. According to city records, group participants liked the format of Largo’s plan because it is clear, concise and user-friendly. The group believes a senior citizen or a high school student can digest the material easily. Largo addressed Ready For 100 under multiple projects.
Among the many stakeholders listed in the DREAM process are city employees, Dunedin businesses, Keep Pinellas Beautiful, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Tampa Bay Watch, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Blue-Green Connections Inc., historical groups, native American groups, Dunedin Garden Club and schools.
Brand said he was going to meet with the Dunedin High School Earth Club.
"There's no bigger stakeholder in this process," he said.