From the Director, Winter 2020 Ready for a New Year and a New Decade

Chris CampanyIt's been a year of much change at the Windham Regional Commission, but we are ready for and looking forward to the new year and decade ahead. We've had transitions in the roles of Associate Director, Finance Manager, Transportation Planner, and Natural Resources Planner, and after the normal adaptation and settling in process we end 2019 on very solid footing. Thank you to the Windham Region towns, our Commissioners, our agency and foundation project partners, other stakeholders, and our staff for your unwavering commitment and engagement throughout this past year.

We will begin the year kicking off the much-needed Windham Region Broadband Project, through which we will conduct a feasibility study and develop a business plan to extend high-speed broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the region as a whole. With the engagement of our towns, we believe we have the right technical assistance partners, Valley Net and the Center on Rural Innovation, along with the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, to develop a plan based in reality that will succeed.

We will resume the process of updating the Windham Regional Plan, with an eye towards answering the question: when growth comes, where will it go? To do this we will continue examining the policies and implementation measures necessary to achieve compact settlement, we will develop hazard mitigation implementation strategies to make these settlements more resilient in the face of the climate change-driven flood events we're seeing now and which are predicted to become more extreme, and we will continue our work through the Windham Connectivity Collaborative to explore policies and strategies to maintain and improve habitat connectivity and avoid further forest fragmentation.
We now have funding through Efficiency Vermont to support town energy committees and implement the Windham Region Energy Plan. Through this effort, along with extensions of the Windham Wood Heat Initiative and the Windham County Renewable Energy Program, we will work with partners throughout the region to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We will continue to support towns in their broad array of planning efforts, and will work to improve understanding of how different planning areas relate to one another. For instance, how does habitat connectivity relate to both watershed protection and the outdoor recreation and forestry economies? How do transportation and land use planning relate to energy and resilience planning? Why are wastewater and water infrastructure foundational to achieving economic and community development, housing, land use, transportation, energy, water quality, conservation, and climate change resilience goals?

This past decade saw the great recession, the destruction and rebuilding related to Tropical Storm Irene, the closure of Vermont Yankee, and the strengthening of our relationships with our neighboring regions in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, critical public-private development partnerships, the emergence of regional economic development planning through the Southeast Vermont Economic Development Strategies, the continued evolution of how businesses and consumers are responding to changes in the national and international economy, major shifts in higher education, local school district structure, and more. The Windham Region faces numerous challenges and opportunities going into the 2020's. Working together we'll respond to changes both anticipated and unforeseen.

Last Updated: 05 February 2020
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