In this week’s Oakley Press, we learn that a pond across from Cypress Park needs cleaning as trash has been accumulating near the water’s edge. According to the article, Elsa Gutierrez, a 17-year Oakley resident, has been contacting the city for months with no response.
After months of trying to get someone at the city to do something, City Manager Bryan Montgomery went down to the pond to check it out. Montgomery and City Engineer Jason Vogan had some explaining to do—rather than admitting bureaucracy is the problem, we received some poor excuses.
“We have had a contractor getting on the trash, and I’m surprised that isn’t complete,” Montgomery said.
City Engineer Jason Vogan said East Bay Construction and Terracare maintain the pond. East Bay Construction maintains the landscaping surrounding the pond, but Vogan suspects that the East Bay Construction crew that cleans up the pond weekly worked under the assumption that Terracare, hired this month to conduct pond weed removal, was responsible for the trash near the water. Vogan said the division of labor might have caused confusion, but will be clarified – and the trash removed.
Montgomery said the trash in the pond could be a result of the recent winds and rainy weather, and Vogan agreed. “The pond is a functioning storm drain facility that includes pumps and an irrigation well that waters the public landscaping in the area … The trash is likely a result of the storm last week.”
We also learn that Mayor Jim Frazier was told about it during his “Walk and Talk”. To his credit, he visited the pond and had cleaning effort organized—even with his efforts, the trash returned.
For crying out loud, this is trash we are talking about. Oakley is not trying to put a man on the moon. If they can’t even pick up trash without problems, how can they solve more complex issues?
The city has three options which include a meeting with both East Bay Construction and Terracare to figure it out; or terminate their contracts and replace them with companies that will actually maintain the health of the pond.
A third solution would be to organize a volunteer group that will provide routine cleanup efforts for the pond and other areas around the city that are deemed “problem areas”.
They could even steal a line from my grandfather that he used on Saturday mornings for his family. He called it the “Saturday Morning Blitz”. For an hour that morning, all they would do is clean the house. Simply apply this idea and expand it in order to benefit the community. Work hard for an hour; enjoy the city the rest of the weekend.
According to Mr. Montgomery this pond acts like a storm drain, meaning it will be a reoccurring problem that will get worse as the winter storms cause havoc. We can only hope the city finds a solution rather than blame weather and wash their hands of this.
As much as Ms. Gutierrez and others may have contacted the city and put the blame where it belongs, would it have been so hard for them to pick up trash in the meantime? If bureaucracy is in the way, sometimes the citizens have to take matters into our own hands and start doing the dirty work the city won’t do with our tax dollars until they get a clue.
There are always solutions; sometimes people just need to get creative and take some initiative. I urge the creation of a Saturday Morning Blitz group that can volunteer an hour each Saturday morning beautifying our city. I’d even join you.
Oakley to clean polluted Pond