My concerns with Beaufort County convenience centers

Published 7:59 am Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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Beaufort County recently made changes to three of the convenience centers; Chocowinity, Cherry Run and River Road. Some paving repair was completed but the main change was adding guard rails. 

Based on the amount of waste and trash that has been dumped in the areas served by the convenience centers, I would say that many citizens are not happy with the change.  

I was told by one county commissioner that the guard rails were installed for safety reasons.  The possibility a person could fall was a real concern. Fall protection is required when the distance a person could fall exceeds 48 inches.

In the case of the convenience centers, they used a guardrail system. OSHA 1910.29(b)(1) requires the height of the guardrail to be 42 inches plus or minus 3 inches with a mid-rail.  For overhead storage a toe board is also required.

I have no knowledge of the other county sites but have been told there will be further changes made to the convenience sites in the future.  

I live near and use the Cherry Run Convenience Center. Putting my trash in the compacter is no problem.  The large containers are more of a challenge. Backing up to them is not really an option but some people still do it.

How do I feel about it? It has definitely made it more difficult; particularly at the large branches and yard waste containers. Large items like sofas and mattresses must now be pushed over the top rail into the large containers.

For the elderly, it is more challenging. They are having a problem lifting stuff over the guard rails and in some cases are pushing stuff in between the rails dropping some items on the ground. I have helped several elderly women who were struggling.

The question is; is it really safer with the guard rails?  

What I need to do is get used to it because it’s not likely to change. Maybe the design of the guard rails could have been a little different but it wouldn’t help much.  

The sites are not as convenient as they used to be and as a tax payer, I would prefer the sites be open seven days a week. The change to 6 days made it less convenient and didn’t save all that much money.

I looked at several sites in other counties on the Internet. They go from a bare minimum to one super site in Durham County that has a building with offices, conference room and staff to maintain the site. Very nice.

Beaufort County’s present sites are about right. I would prefer them to be maintained to a higher standard.  Guidelines for accepted materials is posted on the Beaufort County Government website under accepted materials.  

One thing the citizens and I don’t know is, what are the future plans for the convenience sites?  There’s a lot of talk going on. If there is a plan, it needs to be available to the citizens of Beaufort County.

Al Klemm is a Washington resident and former Beaufort County Commissioner.