Councilman Michael DeVlieger called for the use of hardwood to replace portions of the boardwalk, as opposed to the pine currently being used.
The city has a stockpile of domestic yellow pine it acquired in 2009, and it plans to continue to use that for boardwalk improvements.
In 2008, the city purchased rainforest hardwood to repair
parts of the boardwalk.
The Baltimore-based lumber company that was contracted to deliver the wood failed to deliver all wood, prompting a lawsuit from the city and eventual cancellation of the wood.
The city then purchased domestic yellow pine, a surplus of which remains available to the city and is budgeted for use in the project, a multi-phase project that began this winter.
DeVlieger suggested the use of hardwood once again Thursday night.
“I would like to suggest we also get a quote for the use of hardwood,” DeVlieger said. “ … Hardwood is more eco-friendly. The pine we’re putting down now, we’ll just have to replace it in a few years. It’s more expensive now, but in the long run, it’ll be a much better buy.”
DeVlieger said portions of the boardwalk that used hard wood have lasted 30 years, while portions that use pine wood have been replaced a number of times. He said he’d like to see the hardwood used for the decking of the project.
Chief Financial Officer Frank Donato pointed out the money set aside to complete the project using pine wouldn’t cover the cost of the use of hardwood, and Mayor Jay Gillian said the comparison is not an “apples to apples” comparison.
Donato also said the ordinance keeps the city on a critical path to get the project done in the offseason.
Business Administrator Mike Dattilo said he’s optimistic the pine the city plans to use will be sturdier than pine used by the city in the past.
“We have the pine material already and we have to use it,” Councilman Keith Hartzell said. “We have to use the wood that’s sitting there.”
Councilman Scott Ping pointed out that if the city is going to use hard wood in the future, now is the time to begin that discussion.
“We’re not going to have that bid put out before second reading,” Ping said, adding that now is the best time to begin the discussion on hard wood for the future because the discussion and process will be lengthy. “We need to use the wood we have and continue with the second phase so we can stay on schedule.”
The use of hardwood has been discussed several times over the years. Environmental groups have spoken out against the use of wood, including this letter to the editor by Steve Fenichel in 2012.
The second phase of the project includes boardwalk, ramp, stair, and railing work, and covers associated professional services, all related work and any necessary items. A maximum of $1,733,50 may be borrowed for this project.
The ordinance authorizes a total of $1,905,000 in spending and $1,809,750 in bonds and notes for improvement projects.
A total of $80,000 would be set aside for the acquisition of a self contained breathing apparatus and cascade air filling station for the fire department. A total of $76,000 may be borrowed for this project.