BY BUDDY NEVINS
One thing about Ron Bergeron: He is not shy about telling folks how he feels.
Bergeron took the unusual step — I haven’t seen this done before — of blasting Plantation commissioners in a letter to each of them and the mayor for choosing competitor Waste Management for various disposal contracts because the company fails to meet state recycling goals.
Sun/Bergeron, a joint venture of Bergeron and a Palm Beach County waste hauler, offered Plantation a deal which met the state’s 2020 recycling goals.
The real estate/rock pit/road building/hurricane recovery/waste recycling tycoon said he wasn’t upset that he lost the Plantation contract.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life. I’ve lost bids before and won them. What concerns me is the city’s lack of concern for the environment,” Bergeron told Browardbeat.com.
A member of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Bergeron dedicates about half of his waking hours to preserving the Everglades and the environment. The multi-millionaire owns a nature preserve in Hendry County of roughly 6,000 acres.
Ron Bergeron at his Hendry County preserve
The letter he sent to commissioners and the mayor, supplied by trash recycler Sun/Bergeron’s public relations firm, is self-explanatory. No response yet from the city or the commissioners.
The good news for Bergeron is that Plantation has two new commissioners as of Tuesday’s election.
Here’s the letter:
Mayor Diane Veltric Bendekovic
City of Plantation
400 NW 73rd Avenue
Plantation FL 33317
Dear Mayor Bendekovic:
I write to you today not as a successful businessman, but as a father, grandfather and proud fifth-generation Floridian who works tirelessly to preserve the natural resources we all enjoy. In my many years of involvement with government entities, I was never as disheartened as when Plantation Commissioners abandoned their role as environmental stewards on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.
City Commissioners had an opportunity to lead and protect the environment. Even when Sun Bergeron was ranked #1 in disposal of construction and demolition (C&D) because we were less expensive and process the C&D to achieve a high recycling rate of 93%, the Commission chose status quo. Sun Bergeron’s recycling facility for C&D is second to none and recycles C&D at a rate of 93%. Our competitor’s proposal of burying or burning materials that are highly recyclable and reusable is outdated and environmentally unsound.
This isn’t about the finances, nor should it be. Sun Bergeron’s recycling plan for C&D, Bulk and Vegetative Debris would have cost a resident of Plantation just pennies-a-week more. This is about a shortsighted decision that will result in damage to our environment that will impact our children and grandchildren.
Safeguarding natural resources is something I deeply believe in. It’s why I devote half of my waking hours to preserving the environment and safeguarding the Everglades. It’s why Sun Bergeron’s business plan includes a dozen state-of-the-art waste reprocessing stations, while our competitor burns waste in incinerators built three decades ago and then dump the leftover highly toxic ash in landfills.
My partnership feels so strongly about recycling that we freely disclosed our rates for every commissioner and member of the public to see. Our competitor never disclosed its recycling rates, the question is, why didn’t they?
Losing a contract isn’t what disappoints me. I have lost my share over 50 years. What is disappointing is that preserving our environment is apparently not a high priority for the members of this Commission.
Plantation Commissioners could have chosen to be leaders in conservation on Wednesday. If they had, then all of Plantation’s C&D would be reused for everything from clean fill in public projects to new construction materials. But they did not, so Plantation’s C&D will continue to be buried in a landfill.
They could have lead Plantation toward achieving and exceeding the State’s statutory deadline of 2020 to achieve 75 percent recycling. Unfortunately, the Commission did not make this decision. They chose a plan that will lead to expansion of landfills in our County, odor and air pollution violations, as well as water contamination risks to our neighbors to the north.
Wednesday’s decision saddened me because it was a missed opportunity to do something with lasting value for our community. It was a setback for our environment.
Very Truly Yours,