PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - Dozens of Pembroke Pines residents weighed in during a town hall meeting on Monday, worried about perceived plans for a new garbage incinerator in Broward County, despite there being no plans in place yet to build one.
City officials and county officials said there is a big issue of garbage in the county, in which millions of pounds of trash are sent to landfills.
A questions and answer session occasionally turned heated as Pembroke Pines residents wanted to know if a garbage incinerator is coming to their city, specifically near U.S. 27 and Sheridan Street.
“When I got the notice for this my reaction was, ‘What incinerator project?'” said Assistant County Administrator Kevin Kelleher.
That’s because officials said there is no plan, at least not yet. But they do need to figure out a way to deal with the county’s annual four million tons of garbage added to landfills.
“Twelve million gallons of garbage juice every year that comes out of the landfill, it’s nasty but that has to be dealt with,” said Beam Furr, a Broward County Commissioner.
Word of a potential incinerator has been making the rounds online.
“It’s a tremendous amount of phone calls, texts, emails, I see them in the grocery stores, I see them everywhere and just say, ‘What the heck is going on out there?'” Vice Mayor Iris Siple. “We hear some things that are pretty scary, but we don’t know what’s true and what’s not true. So I’ve been very vocal and telling them, ‘Again nothing has been decided.'”
“The message is an incinerator isn’t good for anyone, not only Pembroke Pines, but anyone,” said Mary Stephens, a Pembroke Pines resident.
Most of the city’s residents agreed opposing the idea of an incinerator, but others had a lot of questions.
“Because if we’re jumping the gun, that’s fine, but you’re talking about 12 months, 36 months, that’s not that far away,” said one resident in the town hall meeting.
Another woman questioned the city’s preventative measures. “What measures have been put in place to reduce the amount of garbage being produced?” she asked.
“I think there needs to be a lot more communication because I think a lot of the reaction is because there hasn’t been a lot of communication,” said another resident.
One of the fears is of a fire occurring, similar to the one at a Doral waste plant in February.
But officials in Monday’s meeting said it will be up to a group of council members from Broward County cities to figure out how to handle the problem of growing waste.
The Pembroke Pines Vice Mayor said turnouts like this can make a difference.
“You need to participate in the discussion so those decisions carry your voice with it,” added Siple.
Councilmembers of 20 cities will get together eventually with Broward County officials to come up with a plan for the garbage issues.
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