- Published on Saturday, 28 April 2012 00:06
- Written by Super User
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
KURE BEACH - The Kure Beach Town Council addressed several environmental issues at their April 17, meeting including yard debris pickup, dog waste stations and recycling containers at beach access areas.
The recommendations were presented at their March meeting by the Storm water and Environmental Committee.
The first recommendation concerned free yard debris pick up. The recommendation stated, "This includes most organic material such as grass clippings, sticks, limbs, small stumps and leaves. But, free pickup could be limited to smaller items that could be placed in the large recyclable paper bags sold at Ace Hardware and other retailers. We understand that most of this material is now ground up for mulch and used by Public works as landscaping material around town, so this organic material now is recycled and serves a purpose. Our major reason for asking for this to be considered is to keep this material out of our landfill. Although it is now prohibited by New Hanover County, we believe many people place it in plastic bags and put it in their trash cans to avoid the cost of special pickup."
Councilman David Heglar said, "I understand where the committee is going with this. I have a lot of yard debris. I put stuff out and I pay for the pickup. I don't think that it's right to, because if you do free yard debris pickup what you do is spread the cost of yard pickup, my pickup, to you guys. That don't have all those trees in your backyard. I just don't think that's right. The pickup fee is very reasonable to the Town. I think that spreading it to everyone else is not the right thing to do. I do appreciate they are trying to keep yard waste out of the landfill, but I just don't personally think it's the right thing to do."
One issue is people putting non-debris items in bags that damage town equipment that turns yard waste into mulch such as boards with nails in them.
Council member Emilie Swearingen said she recalled, "The cost to have that one week of free debris pickup" was as much as $7,000 and that last year, "The price at the time was so exorbitant we decided then to only have one" pickup a year.
Heglar said, "I request the Council say once a year is sufficient for free yard debris pickup other than after a hurricane.
The Council voted unanimously.
The second recommendation from the committee dealt with, "More frequent non-recyclable material pick up."
The committee recommendation stated, "New Hanover County (NHC) should schedule more frequent pickups of no recyclable items at locations more convenient to residents of Pleasure Island (PI). There are many items such as tires, oil, paint, batteries, etc. that Waste Management won’t pick up from the curb, but should be disposed of properly, as they are hazardous to the environment. PI residents can take them to the landfill out on Route 421, or to the once or twice a year collections, usually held in the northern part of the county. NHC also needs to have more collections closer to southern county residents, perhaps at Monkey Junction or even further south. We realize that this will be an expense to the county at a time of budget shortfalls, but as the beach towns provide a large share of county tax income, we deserve better services such as more hazardous waste pickup."
Mayor Dean Lambeth said he would soon be meeting with Ted Davis, Chairman of the County Board of Commissioners, and would raise the issue at that time.
The next recommendation from the committee concerned recyclable containers at beach access areas.
The recommendation states, "We understand that the bins were at accesses before and were removed because people put trash in them instead of recyclable items, but we feel that the new bins are now well marked, and visitors will cooperate in putting the right items in the appropriate bin."
Town staff explained that Council authorized staff to remove 25 recycling carts from beach accesses last October as they were being used for garbage and trash. Public Works had to empty because of the contamination. Estimated annual cost per cart to replace is $240.
Swearingen said public works director Sonny Beeker, "Has already agreed to put recycle bins back at cross-overs after we finish building them for this summer and try again. But they have to be marked. He said he would put the new ones out there, not the old junky ugly ones. But the other ones were never really marked so you understood what they were for."
Swearingen said Sonny could work with the Town's recycling contractor to improve signs on the bins. She said, "It's never going to work until we try it. Not doing it is not going to..."
One issue in the past was people using the recycle bins as regular trashcans causing a problem in the recycling process for separating trash from recyclables.
Heglar said, "One, the Town has a responsibility to try to promote recycling. Two, that second can prevents it from being thrown on the ground. So if they use it the wrong way and we have to dump it, at least it's not on the ground."
He said, "E. Avenue, when I go down there, the second can, Sunday afternoon, thank God it's there otherwise it would be all over the beach. So even if they use it wrong it helps us. I think we should put them at our public beach accesses."
Town Clerk Nancy Avery said the Town has had to pickup recycling carts at beach access areas because Waste Management, the Town's recycling contractor, will not pick them up due to contamination from regular trash in the bins.
She explained the cost for bins at 25 beach access areas is $240 per year.
Heglar said, "Let's let the recycling company, the experts, tell us what we want. Let's tell them where we want it. We want it at each of the public beach accesses."
The Council agreed with Heglar's direction.
The next item concerned Dog Waste Stations. The committee recommendation stated, "One of the requirements of the Stormwater Permit is that the Town identify and control surface waste. A major source of this, other than wildlife, is dog feces. There are already waste stations at Joe Eakes Park, so adding more at Town properties such as lift stations should not be a major problem. Most, but not all residents carry bags when walking their dogs, but many visitors don’t."
Mayor Lambeth said the general public has no business being around sewer lift stations.
Heglar said, "For me, they should tell us how much money they are asking for this one and it should be part of the budget process. I would prefer their committee to figure out how much money they are talking about verses us trying to figure it out. Because when you start providing plastic bags someone has to go replace them and all that other stuff. So I would like this one to go back to the committee and they can put it in as part of the budget process" or a budget request.
The Council voted unanimously to send the dog waste recommendation back to the committee.