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Friday, May 14, 2010

Board Modifies Spring Creek Ordinance

Littering continues to be a problem By Sid Riley

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, the existing Spring Creek Ordinance was amended after it was determined the existing ordinance was unenforceable, and was not correcting the ongoing problem of people littering while enjoying the ride down Spring Creek. The previously enacted ordinance made it illegal to take any disposable containers into the creek. This included bottled water; colas …even baby bottles, as well as beer and other alcoholic beverages. The fine for violation was $250.00, but the public continued to take these items on their floating adventure, and continued to litter while doing so. To make this approach effective would require at least two full time police enforcers.
The new ordinance which was presented by Parks Director Chuck Hatcher, enlists a more cooperative approach. The only items specifically excluded are Styrofoam coolers and glass containers. Each launching craft will be given a county provided mesh trash container to use while in the river. The occupants will be asked to cooperate in the ongoing effort to keep the river clean. Collection points will be provided at each landing for emptying the trash from the bag.
As discussion on the proposed ordinance began, Spring Creek resident and property owner, Russell Dunaway spoke before the panel. He asked the Commissioners to leave the existing, more prohibitive ordinance in place, and to fund additional police enforcement in order to make the ordinance effective.
“I feel that having high fines for violation of the existing ordinance will have some effect, but I can not feel sure it will stop most of the littering….and that is the goal,” stated Commissioner Branch. “Maintaining enforcement and not delivering an overly negative message to the public is a difficult task,” stated Commissioner Lockey. “I feel we should give this approach a year of testing and at the end of the season we can evaluate the results.” The amendments to the ordinance passed by a 5-0 vote.
Hatcher also reminded everyone that this Saturday, May 15, volunteers are needed for a “River Clean Up Day”. Volunteers should come to any major landing, including Yancy Bridge, Spring Creek Park, Hinson Landing, or Magnolia Bridge at 8am until noon. For information contact Chuck Hatcher 718-5210.

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