Fenwick environmentalists look at PCS

The Fenwick Island Environmental Committee recently met to discuss some of their ongoing environmental interests, one being their official position on the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC’s) proposed Pollution Control Strategy.

The committee discussed the PCS and proposed meeting with local representatives regarding it. Ultimately, they decided they could talk to state Rep. Gerald Hocker and state Sen. George Howard Bunting as individuals, but they decided against having a formalized committee-sponsored discussion, favoring instead that, if they do have the representatives in for a talk, it will be strictly educational.

“We have to be careful what we are pushing here,” said co-chair Buzz Henifin. “We have to do things within the town before we step out,” he said, after the talk started to concentrate on the PCS’s stance on buffers for area waterways. “It’s such a touchy subject.”

Fenwick Island Town Manager Tony Carson also pointed out that Hocker has been very helpful in working with town matters and advised the committee not to do anything “adversarial” and, as a town-sponsored committee, to “keep politics out of it.”

“It doesn’t mean we support buffers,” interjected Vicki Carmean. “It’s enlightening everyone [to have a speaker here].”

The committee decided they would get up to speed on the proposed PCS so they could ask informed questions once they did decide to have a speaker, who might be Hocker or a representative from DNREC, or both, for their “strictly educational” meeting.

The committee also discussed their lagoon project and decided that 15 canal ends could benefit from the full-moon Dec. 12 project. They also discussed having a speaker regarding rain gardens — possibly Sally Boswell from the Center for the Inland Bays

Once again, Carmean reported that her final proposal to put an end to bottled water purchases by the town did not get passed by council. But she noted that one of the environmental committee’s missions is to educate the public, and she said she felt the public had “definitely been educated, with all the drama” regarding her pleas to save the town about $1,000 a year in bottled water fees.

Martha Keller brought up ideas for plastic bag recycling and asked if the committee had any formal suggestions or stances on the subject. The committee decided that there was not much more they could do regarding the issue since many grocery stores offer cloth bags and discounts for using them.

Referencing the town’s recent discussion about possibly changing the way building height is measured and its after-effects, Councilman and committee member Todd Smallwood joked that, as long as the “bag height will be under 30 feet, they’ll be happy.” Another committee member jokingly asked if apartments should be allowed over the bags.

Committee member Mary Pat Kyle said that “there are a lot of angry people walking around,” adding that, with the mood of the town, people would not necessarily be receptive of something in the way of a resolution from town council on the issue.

The next meeting of the Environmental Committee will be held Sept. 10, at 2 p.m. and will be a regular meeting. The following meeting, in October, will feature a speaker — either on the PCS or on rain gardens.