Buying Time on the Plastic Bag Ban
by Karen James
Mar 06, 2011 | 2171 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TELLURIDE – With the Town of Telluride’s ordinance banning the distribution of most plastic bags in effect as of March 1, a half-dozen or so small merchants here have alerted the town that they have several weeks, if not months, of remaining bag back stock.

Rather than force those retailers to simply throw them out in order to comply with the ban, the Telluride Town Council made a concession when it met on Tuesday to allow those few retailers to continue to distribute their remaining bags until May 1.

By that time the town hopes that all remaining stock will be depleted, but after that point, “We fully understand that there may be some situations where someone has excess inventory and they’ll be talked to separately,” explained Mayor Stu Fraser.

“We’re not going to be coming after them with the bag police.”

In the meantime, the ban is in effect for all other affected businesses, including those that may have back stock but did not alert the town of that fact prior to the implementation date.

“My understanding is that virtually everybody is going to be out and that they are supporting what we are doing,” said Fraser. “If a couple stores have something left we’ll work with them.”

Four Corners Community Gym Unlikely

As members of the Telluride Fitness Center face the pending closure of their facility and try to find an alternative workout location, their proposal to relocate to the town-owned San Miguel Power Association (Four Corners) building in the form of a community gym met with a lukewarm response from council during a worksession on the matter held Tuesday.

While no councilmember disputed that the idea entailed some community benefits, the logistics of locating a gym in a building that is largely being used as an archive because of its extreme energy inefficiency seemed somewhat unsurmountable.

Not only would some remodeling and the installation of a sprinkler system for which the town has not budgeted be necessary to enable the relocation, but the town is not prepared to assume the costs of managing such a facility, effectively subsidizing its operations, particularly when doing so would put it in direct competition with the private sector.

“The Town Manager has made it clear that there are not the resources to manage it,” said Councilmember Brian Werner.

“And even if there were, I would have a hard time giving my blessing to the town to run a facility in direct competition with other businesses.”

Nevertheless, most of council shied away from directly opposing the plan, stating that if a viable business plan for the facility could be developed at no cost to the town, they would be willing to hear the proposal.

“What I heard from everybody is that in order for this to move forward there would have to be a solid business plan in place,” said Fraser.

Given that, “It’s unlikely that anything will happen with it,” he continued. “There was not overwhelming support for it.”

Temporary Spur Fix in Motion

The wheels are in motion to see long-awaited improvements to potholes and ruts that pock the first two-thirds of the Highway 145 Spur into town,

After prioritizing an $880,000 spend during its budget preparations last fall to fund a smoothing overlay of the road that is expected to last between three and five years, council on Tuesday gave its blessing to a roughly $50,000 increase to that budget.

The additional cost will not only enable the portion of Colorado Avenue between the Mahoney Drive roundabout and Davis Street to receive the surface treatment, but will also upgrade the asphalt material being used throughout the project to one more likely to withstand the extreme temperature swings experienced in the Telluride Valley.

The hope is that the more temperature-resistant material will give the treatment a longer lifespan.

The project is expected to be complete before Memorial Day Weekend provided there are no weather-related or other delays. If not, it will be delayed until after the Blues and Brews Festival weekend in mid-September.
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