Parish Council hears residents' objections to timber company

PETER SILAS PASQUA ppasqua@postsouth.com

PLAQUEMINE - More than a dozen residents who live on Belleview Drive objected to the expansion of Woodson Inc. that includes piles of possibly creosote-soaked timber on Tuesday night at the Iberville Parish Council's regularly scheduled meeting.

Yolanda Laws, representing the Southeast Plaquemine Coalition of Concerned Citizens, passed out a flyer with a list of complaints and a photograph of stacks of timbers a few feet away from a trampoline in a residential backyard.

"The residents of this community has suffered much as a result of these concerns," Laws said.

Salaris Butler, who represents the area on the parish council, said the company "is an eyesore."

"The one thing we are most concerned about is what is going in and out of that site," Butler said. "This will not end tonight. I am 100 percent behind you."

Butler vowed to call a meeting and invite state Department of Environmental Quality and possibly U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials.

Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. also said he would contact Woodson Inc. officials.

"We will be working with them to hear their side of the story," Ourso said. "That you have my word on."

The next council meeting scheduled for July 16 was moved to the North Iberville Community Center.

In other news Warren "T-Notchie" Taylor expressed concern over the closing of the White Castle/Carville ferry by the Department of Transportation and Development

The ferry closed Friday, one week earlier than scheduled due to a lack of workers. It was originally scheduled to be closed six months earlier but a deal was struck to keep it open during that time frame. The council agreed to accept a portion of La. 3066 into its road system in exchange for funding through the fiscal year.

Taylor said residents must now drive a total of 80 miles a day out of the way. The nearest Mississippi River crossings are approximately 20 minutes north at the Plaquemine/Sunshine Ferry or 20 minutes south at the Sunshine Bridge in St. James Parish.

Ironically, DOTD recently announced it will use under-run funds to extend LA Swift, a primarily federally funded bus service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge that was initiated after Hurricane Katrina, for another month.

The council also:

-Approved 2013 ad valorem taxes at 15.73 mills plus 6.76 mills for Fire District No. 2, and 3.83 mills for Fire District No. 1.

-Approved an ordinance providing for the incurring of debt and issuance of $600,000 of limited tax certificates to provide funding for build a new office maintenance complex in St. Gabriel, where monthly water works bills will be collected.