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Stink about the stink

March 5, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

A few months ago, we were asked by a friend to sign a petition asking the Town government to find another place for the town's trash transfer station (dumpsters) located in the corner of the Bay Oaks parking lot just behind the pool. Some of the seasonal users of Bay Oaks, primarily the people running the Little League, were offended by the smell and unsightliness of the group of containers they had to pass on their way to the ball fields.

Let me be clear I admire and applaud all the folks who run the Little League and everything else that happens at Bay Oaks. They're good citizens doing good things.

We declined to sign the petition, however, not because we thought that finding a better place for the dumpsters wasn't a good idea, but because there was no suggestion for where the better place would be.

Boy, were we ever right! In trying to accommodate the petitioners, then-town manager Terry Stewart explored several possibilities and returned with the report that there was not a better place to put them.

A little background here these containers are where all the town's trash cans from the streets and beach accesses are emptied. They're also where all the rotting sea-grass, red-drift algae and dead fish are put when there is enough of it on the beach to warrant picking it up. The regular horticultural refuse palm leaves and other trimmings goes there, too.

I was blown away with Mayor Mandel's announcement at a recent Council meeting that the problem had been solved, and that all of the dumpsters were being moved to the Town Hall parking lot.

The problem may have been solved for those who signed the petition, but it sure has created a new problem for other residents. In accommodating some people who use the Bay Oaks parking lot a few times a week for a few months each year, the town has chosen to move the eye/nose-sore to a place surrounded by private, year-round residences one of them mine.

My property sits exactly 113 steps from where they're putting the containers, directly across the church parking lot and in plain sight from my front window. It's also due east from my house, the direction the wind comes from most often all year, according to the National Weather Service.

I cordially invite everyone who was a part of this decision to come to my house and see the results of their "problem-solving."

In addition to the over-riding question, "What the hell were you thinking"? - I ask a couple more:

If the odor problem is being solved by installing a new deodorizing compactor, why couldn't you have installed the same deodorizing compactor where the old one was?

If a part of the problem was unsightliness in the Bay Oaks parking lot, what have you improved by putting them where everyone who parks at Town Hall has to run a gauntlet of trash containers, no matter how nicely you fence them in? For that matter, if you really believe that putting fences around the dumpsters mitigates the "eye-sore" part of the problem, why couldn't you have done that in the Bay Oaks parking lot?

And finally what you've done eliminates at least a quarter, maybe even a third of the available parking spaces at Town Hall. People attending Council and other big-issue meetings are already spilling over into the church and Topps lots to park.

I urge the powers that be to reconsider this move. It was poorly thought-through and ill-advised.

For now, this is as much stink as I plan to make about it. But be assured that the first time I get some stink from the dumpsters, I will re-define the term "stink."

Jay Light

Fort Myers Beach



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