2008-09-04 / Other News

Hearing On Waste Site Depends On Public Response: Barron

South Canarsie Civic Association president Mary Anne Sallustro addresses community concerns to Councilman Charles Barron's representative Joy Simmons.             Dara MormileSouth Canarsie Civic Association president Mary Anne Sallustro addresses community concerns to Councilman Charles Barron's representative Joy Simmons. Dara Mormile By Dara Mormile

Residents and elected officials have until September 19th to express their opposition to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) about the planned medical waste transfer site at East 100th Street and Farragut Road. Completion of the application to operate the business prompted a coalition of community leaders and residents to hold a meeting last Thursday to discuss the next course of action before a public hearing takes place.

City Councilman Charles Barron's spokesperson Joy Simmons hosted the August 28 meeting at the Hebrew Educational Society, where a more elaborate method of getting information to the public about Citiwide Medical Waste (CMW Industries) was planned.

"I spoke with a representative from the DEC and the public hearing depends on how much response they receive from the community. So, as a coalition, we need to provoke an enormous response opposing this permit," Simmons said.

According to Simmons, there is no time frame for the application to go forward. And even though the meeting was expected to only draw the attention of those who had previously met on stopping the controversial facility, the new focus provided details to the uninformed and to plan another meeting where petitions would be circulated.

Mary Anne Sallustro, president of the South Canarsie Civic Association, who is credited for bringing the issue to the attention of the community, said the fact that application is available at the Jamaica Bay Library at Seaview Avenue and East 98th Street, which has been closed for renovations, isn't logical.

"The only other place we can access at the application is a library in East New York," Sallustro said. "Why are they putting this in Canarsie? The only other waste transfer site is in The Bronx. Why can't they put it somewhere in Mill Basin or Bergen Beach?"

The application confirms that CMW Industries would be responsible for transferring hazardous medical waste from facilities throughout the city using "an estimated 17 trucks per day" to and from the site. Owner of the property Gershon Klein made it clear that medical waste would not be stored in the 1,500-square foot warehouse, but the project was frowned upon when Klein admitted he didn't know what, specifically, would be in the sealed boxes brought to the facility by small vans.

Many were concerned about what would happen in the event of an accident as well as prolonged exposure to toxic materials

"Some people still don't know how this site will effect them," said president of the BayView Houses Tenants Association Silvia Whiteside. "When I spoke to the administration at River Manor, which is near the transfer site, they didn't know about it."

Some suggested distributing fliers to announce a Town Hall meeting before the September 19 deadline. Residents also want more time for additional public comment.

Avenue L Merchants Association president Mercedes Narcisse said Canarsiens need to work with the various politicians who represent parts of the community.

"Since there are so many boundaries and we're divided by so many elected officials who represent us, it's harder to come together," said Narcisse.

Anyone interested in offering input on the facility is encouraged to write to the DEC's Michelle Moore at NYSDEC 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City, NY 11101-5407. Barron's office can be reached at 1-718-649-9495.

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