Panel mulls other approaches after feeble Earth Day cleanup
The Earth Day cleanup in Jamestown has traditionally been scheduled for a single day, but next year’s event might last an entire week.
The Conservation Commission hopes to follow up on a plan to offer people extra convenience as an incentive to encourage more participation.
“Everyone’s not up to picking up garbage for six hours,” Commissioner Patrick Driscoll said at the panel’s May 9 meeting. “Next year, we get the dumpster for a week and have people come in and pick up a bag. People could come out when they have a chance.”
Driscoll, who organized the shoreline cleanup on the Saturday before Earth Day, said he was disappointed by last month’s turnout and the haul.
“We got .7 of a ton,” he said. “We usually get 2 tons.”
Driscoll said he was not sure why this year fewer people came out to help pick up litter along the coasts.
“Maybe I didn’t publicize it enough,” he said, but added the rainy weather also may have kept people home.
“Just the weather probably,” Commissioner Michael Brown said. “The turnouts have been consistent over the years.”
Brown was unsure about changing the operation to allow participants a week to do the cleanup. While Driscoll’s proposal may be more convenient for residents, others enjoy the camaraderie of working together, according to Brown.
“There’s also the festive atmosphere of doing it as a group,” He said.
Brown and Driscoll said the cleanup along North Road seemed to have been successful, as volunteers collected enough trash to fill 15 bags.
In the future, Driscoll said the commissioners should ask the Public Works Department to “put four or five barrels down at Taylor Point and at some of the beaches.” Even though people may litter anyway, according to Driscoll, the barrels would keep some of the trash off the shoreline. “It would be a lot easier to schlep the barrels out than to pick up all that garbage,” he said.
Brown said the commissioners should also contact the people and companies that have adopted roads and “prod” them to organize another cleanup at the end of the summer.
In other business, Commissioner Anne Kuhn-Hines reported she has located two businesses with dune plugs in stock, and a third outlet that expects to have the “bare root” grasses available by the fall. One vendor has 600 plugs available at a cost of 75 cents each. She did not have figures for the other supplier. The grasses are needed to restore the beach at Mackerel Cove, but have been scarce due to demand following Hurricane Sandy. Kuhn-Hines found the two suppliers while she was researching a proposal by resident Walter Boll to plant beach plums at Mackerel Cove to combat erosion.
The Town Council asked the Conservation Commission to evaluate Boll’s idea, and due to her expertise, the panel assigned the task to Kuhn-Hines.
She said the optimal solution would be to plant a number of varieties, including seaside goldenrod. Brown said the Conservation Commission should give town officials a recommendation about the types of plantings. Kuhn-Hines said she would contact Town Engineer Michael Gray and give him the information she had collected.
With summer fast approaching, demand has increased for the Conservation Commission’s trail guides, which are sold at several local businesses, Commissioner Ted Smayda said. Smayda and Commissioner Kate Smith, who did not attend last week’s meeting, have been working on finding a vendor to reprint the guides. The commission’s current stock is about to run out.
“We’re entering the busy season,” Smayda said. He indicated that the commission should have new trail guides in stock before the current supply is tapped.
Smayda said he spoke with Finance Director Tina Collins about giving the job to Meridian Printing in East Greenwich.
Meridian was not the low bidder. However, Smayda said previously the difference in the bids was insignificant.
“I talked to Tina, and she said we need to justify why we’re coming in a little higher,” he said. “We have to justify the benefit of having them.”
Smayda told the commissioners the bid issue was “no big deal.”
Chairwoman Maureen Coleman said the panel had already voted to give Meridian the job for 61 cents per copy. “We voted,” said Smayda. “You’re authorized. We have the funding. You can incur the expense.”
Smayda said the commission has accumulated $2,425 in the account set aside from selling trail guides.
The commissioners also decided to defer spending about $189 for a new chain saw, which was requested by Chris Powell, the commission’s volunteer trails steward. Smayda offered to donate one.
Driscoll had proposed buying a new chain saw, but then said the purchase would be unnecessary due to Smayda’s offer. Smayda verified he has a chain saw that he doesn’t want anymore. He assured Driscoll it was “serviceable.”
The commissioners agreed to accept the free chain saw and let Powell try it out. They then authorized $200 to buy a new chain saw and safety equipment, if necessary.