Plastic Bag Ban and Speeding in Hopewell Borough Council

Hopewell Borough Council 2018

The Hopewell Borough Council discussed all things environmental at its October 4 meeting. Members of the Council introduced an ordinance that would enforce a plastic-bag ban for the Borough, appointed the Municipal Prosecutor, and talked about the speeding problem within the Borough.

The Council heard from a few students from Hopewell Elementary School, lead by teacher Helen Corveleyn, also known as “Dr. Hydrogen”  The students gave a presentation about the dangers of plastic on the environment and what the Borough can do to help.

“These are students who were very active on the Hopewell Valley Green Team at HES. They initiated and started it and felt that they needed it,” said Corveleyn.

Specifically, the group alerted the Council to the negative impact of plastic on sea turtles and  on Earth’s oceans. The students made sure to specify that no turtles were harmed in the making of their presentation which elicited a hearty laugh from Council members and the general public.

After the presentation, the Council introduced Ordinance No. 826, a revision of the withdrawn Ordinance 824,and contained a proposed plastic bag ban in the Borough.ome of the changes from the original ordinance included education programs for residents and students, fines, and some other technical changes.

“Heavy or not, these things last forever,” said Council member Sky Morehouse. “We still have to carry stuff, unless we go back to wicker, which is even tougher.”

The main issue was how to enforce the ordinance and how to make small businesses sell reusable bags. Jim Waltman, executive director of the Watershed Institute, had a solution.

“The Watershed Institute strongly supports that ordinance,” said Waltman. “We see a growing problem with single-use plastic bags — unfortunately they’re not all recycled. Last meeting, I announced that we had funds to purchase and donate a thousand reusable bags. That lead to additional philanthropy, I’m pleased to say, so we got a very nice contribution and we’re in a position now to contribute three thousand reusable bags.”

A common issue raised in the public comment section of the meeting was the consistent speed problem in the Borough, specifically on Columbia and Model Avenues. The Council acknowledged the problem, and indicating that it is actively looking for solutions

“It’s an ongoing discussion. It’s an ongoing analysis. It’s an ongoing problem,” said Councilmember David Mackie.

The Council’s next meeting is scheduled for November 1 at 7 pm, in which there will be a public comment section about Ordinance No. 826.

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