It is truly an honor to be elected President of the Old Colony Planning Council. Southeastern Massachusetts in general and the Old Colony region in particular represent one of the fastest growing areas in our Commonwealth. OCPC member communities face significant challenges as they attempt to balance the desire for a high quality of life with the need to support responsible and sustainable economic activity. In years past, these desires were seen as competing, or contradictory. I do not hold that they are mutually exclusive. I believe the Old Colony Planning Council has an important strategic role in helping our communities understand that well-planned housing and economic development are the most effective way to achieve municipal, and, ultimately, regional goals.
The Council enjoys a special relationship with our member communities. We provide valuable advice regarding transportation planning, master planning, affordable housing, and economic and civic infrastructure. Our role as administrator of the Area Agency on Aging is especially important, as the demographics of our region (and indeed our nation) clearly show the need for continued improvement in the delivery of elder services. Smart Growth principles are more widely understood than ever, and are being applied to, and improving many proposals. Access to public transportation, pedestrian safety, and energy efficiency are fundamental design elements that can be incorporated into the built environment, often at less cost. Interestingly, colleges and universities now have sustainable development and renewable energy programs, to prepare the next generation of planners, architects, engineers and dreamers.
I view the role of the Council as one of an independent and expert advisor, available to collaborate on development questions faced by stakeholders in our member communities. Our regional focus gives us an objective perspective that transcends municipal boundaries. Our expertise in land use, GIS, permitting, transportation systems, and planning, makes the Old Colony Planning Council a valued and valuable asset to the region. Our staff maintains excellent relationships with local, state and federal governments and authorities, colleges, medical facilities, business groups and employers, making the Council a real stakeholder in the affairs of our member communities. While we are proud of the work we do, challenges remain. Securing adequate funding for improving transportation infrastructure is likely to continue as a top priority of the Council, and of the state and federal agencies charged with maintaining a safe and efficient highway system. Public participation in our plans is more evident, and more important than ever.
On behalf of the Old Colony Planning Council, it is my pleasure to welcome your participation in the activities of the Council. Please stop by our offices, in the historic building at 70 School Street, in downtown Brockton. Our regular meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month, at 7:00 pm, and are open to the public. We hope to see you there, and we look forward to working with you.
President, Old Colony Planning Council