Pelican Preserve community upset over reopening of Gulf Coast landfill

Reporter: Emma Heaton
Published: Updated:

The Pelican Preserve community is upset by the reopening of a landfill to help accommodate debris from Hurricane Ian.

They worry about their health and safety.

And they worry the fully-operational landfill will crush the values of their homes and that’s not at all.

People who live near the Gulf Coast landfill hate the sight and the smell.

“The trucks when they backup, beep, beep, beep, beep,” said Pelican Preserve resident Douglas Warren.

They beep all day long, said Chris Crawford who also lives there.

Carole Brokke is the president of a residence alliance.

In 2007, she worked with the City of Fort Myers, Lee County and her neighbors in the Pelican Preserve Community to close the landfill.

Fifteen years later, the Lee County Board of Commissioners voted to bring it back.

“The commissioners voted to reopen it kind of in the middle of the night. So it seems without any open meeting notice of any kind. And that was going to start up right away to clear hurricane debris,” Crawford said.

Dawn McCormack, with Waste Management, said the landfill would provide one more disposal option to speed recovery for everyone in the county.

“I don’t think they’re really concerned about the impact that it has probably on the environment number one and the people that are affected by it,” Crawford said.

McCormack said there are no health hazards.

“This is a fully permitted landfill highly regulated by the fire, federal or the Florida Department of Environmental Protection,” she said.

All of that may be true, but the neighbors said it gets under their skin that they had no idea the landfill would reopen until the commissioners voted on it.

The county will hold a public meeting on Tuesday at 4 p.m. and Waste Management’s spokesperson said they people can’t make it, they can call the company.

Anyone with a question or concern about the Gulf Coast Landfill, or activity at the landfill, can call the Gulf Coast Reporting Line at 239-645-4285. Your call will be answered by a live person who will take your question or concern and relay it to a WM staff person, who will return your call.

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