Bluffs Residents Rally Against Proposed Dumpster Relocation

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Three months after the last meeting of the Pacific Palisades Park Advisory Board, community and board members met on Wednesday, April 17, to revisit a proposed plan to move dumpsters currently at Palisades Recreation Center to an area along Temescal Canyon Road.

Principal Grounds Maintenance Supervisor II of the Pacific Maintenance division Raul Leon, who oversees 165 parks throughout Los Angeles, was once again on hand to answer questions regarding the proposed relocation. He estimated that 60% of the trash collected in the dumpsters is produced at the rec center and 40% at Temescal Canyon Park.

“It’s really an issue that we need to deal with here, to figure out the trash that’s generated in this area—what are we going to do with it?” Leon explained. “Because it needs to be stored somewhere temporarily until that trash can be discarded in the landfill site.”

Leon reported that since the last meeting, his staff had made a few improvements to the dumpsters at Palisades Recreation Center, including addressing the rodent issue and replacing the bins with lids that were not able to close properly. The number of dumpsters was reduced from six to three, which Leon explained may have to change to meet the increased trash load that accrues during busy months at the park.

Palisades Charter High School Director of Operations Don Parcell attended the meeting on behalf of the school, sharing that some of their concerns include noise, traffic and a groundwater problem in the proposed area along Temescal.

“We’re not in favor of it, we would rather see alternative solutions,” Parcell said.

Community members suggested several options for relocation, including a spot by the baseball fields and a maintenance area at Will Rogers State Beach. A couple of audience members asked why the dumpsters were being moved at all.

“The advantage of adding green space to this park and eliminating asphalt is the point,” PP-PAB board member Robert Harter said. “If we could find a location … we would be expanding the green space in this park and we would be eliminating asphalt.”

Rob Ellison, a resident who lives near the park and heads a subcommittee tasked with working with the Park Advisory Board to find a suitable location for the dumpsters, explained that there’s a laundry list of reasons for the relocation.

“If we could have one person representing the various jurisdictions of the Palisades, who is actually willing to do stuff once we are unleashed to help with this problem, then that’s my goal,” Ellison said of the future of the subcommittee, which has not yet met while they wait for more information from the board and LA Department of Recreation and Parks for how to proceed.

“We’re not going to make a final decision until we get a consensus from you folks in regards to what will ultimately the decision that’s made, whether they remain in place or we put [them] in Temescal Canyon,” Leon explained.

Other options currently being considered are to increase the number of dumpsters or the frequency of pickup by sanitation.

“Temescal Canyon is a park in its own right—a significant, scenic natural resource … it deserves to not be marred,” one resident shared.

“I sympathize with the folks on Alma Real as well, and what I’m hearing is you’re actually taking an issue, and if it is proposed to go to Temescal, you’re just moving the same issue there.”