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Mayor: Fight Over Boardwalk Wood Not Worth Risking Memorial Day Reopening

Belmar switches from rainforest timber

Belmar was motivated by a ticking clock and not environmentalists when it chose to drop rainforest timber as its boardwalk decking, Mayor Matt Doherty said.

The Sierra Club was prepared to fight over the use of ipe rainforest timber, saying the wood is harvested, causing great damage to rainforest ecosystems. Doherty said the borough was using timber that was certified as more environmentally sound, and that the company that harvested ipe was also reforesting the species there.

However, Belmar switched from the use of ipe after seeing that a legal fight over its use would slow boardwalk construction, Doherty said.

"We'd likely win a fight, but it could last as long as 60 days," Doherty said. "We're not going to stop construction for 60 days. That's just not happening."

Belmar is pushing forward on reopening its boardwalk for Memorial Day, and has 1.3 miles of boardwalk to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy uprooted nearly all he beachfront.

In order to be ready, Belmar is aggressively pushing forward on its rebuilding plans. A $6 million contract for Epic Construction to rebuild has a bonus for completing the project before April 30 and daily penalties for lateness.

With the pilings portion already underway, Belmar can't afford to be tied up in a legal battle over the type of planks it uses, Doherty said.

Dame Bridgid January 21, 2013 at 10:02 AM
The Sierra Club needs to get their butts down to the rain forest instead & focus on education. The local people slash & burn the Rainforest to plant crops. That type of deforestation is a huge problem they DO need to work on. A tree farm producing wood of the same type uses sustainable harvest techniques that do not result in deforestation. Trust a 60's era protest group to get it wrong & harass the people who are doing it right.
Claire January 21, 2013 at 10:14 AM
I sat in a biology classroom a long time ago where the environmentally biased teacher applauded a highway cutting through the rainforest. I thought that was misguided then. I forgave them. I will forgive them again. BUT they must think about us. Will they donate so that we can do what they want. CA has great ideas but there is not enough MONEY in our gov't to carry them out.
Dame Bridgid January 21, 2013 at 09:02 PM
The Sierra Club members are publicly pushing an agenda that would not donate a penny to rebuild Belmar's boardwalk or any other structure within 5 miles of the coast. Environmental groups like them have begun loudly advocating not rebuilding the towns all along the New Jersey coast to "free" it. They appear to be a group that has become radicalized to the point that they would not want any wood products used at all. Otherwise they would have suggested some alternative type of lumber. I do not know if the local Sierra leader is flown with power, or sees this as an opportunity to divert some of Belmar's upcoming relief money to their "cause" by litigation. Anything is possible; but it is certain these people are intent on shoving their California agenda down our throats & forcing a less environmentally sound repair to be used due to their threats of using up our time constraints in court. I certainly will never respect The Sierra Club again after this behavior. I respectfully suggest you do not forgive this travesty either.
Dame Bridgid January 21, 2013 at 10:18 PM
IPE wood was chosen for some very specific properties. It is extremely dense; that makes it so durable, it can blunt the tools used on it. That is why IPE is known as "ironwood". The US Department of Agriculture & Forestry rates this wood as highly resistant to decay, fungi, & termites. IPE looks like teak, but is much less expensive than teak or any plastic alternative. It sands quite smoothly, will NOT splinter, weathers naturally in sunlight's UVA to a light consistent grey, & does not really require any finish or treatments because it can be pressure washed back to looking like new. However; most importantly for a boardwalk exposed to rains that produce runoff into the Atlantic Ocean, IPE contains NO added harmful chemicals, so it can be used near water without danger of potential contamination. As if the rest was not convincing enough; IPE has a CLASS A fire rating...The same fire rating that is given to concrete & steel! That significantly reduces any fire hazard associated with having a wooden boardwalk. This wood is truly awesome, & perfect for rebuilding Belmar's Boardwalk I really do not think any other wood could replace it (sigh). It has such unique qualities. I feel terrible about Belmar not being able to use it because of threats to delay the construction with a court injunction, by people who (in my opinion) are eco-thugs. Curses upon The Sierra Club dorks. May hungry sand fleas infest them all!
Spencer Shawn January 08, 2014 at 03:54 PM
I haven't really had much experience with these guys. I am excited to work with them though. I have a friend that will go there soon. Spencer | http://www.rmfp.com/decking

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