By Park Baker
Staff Writer 

Town Asked To Pay For Dead Wildlife


Last updated 2/18/2019 at 3:44pm

The Rosman Board of Aldermen voted last week to make a counter offer to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for replacing wildlife killed when 300 gallons of chlorine spilled in the French Broad River.

A valve left open in a chlorine tank at the Rosman Champion Park pool last July resulted in chlorine spilling into the French Broad River, killing about 4,700 fish, according to Mayor Brian Shelton.

Shelton said the valve was mistakenly left open when a company came to refill the tank.

Since the pool was built in 1979, the floor drain underneath the tank runs into the storm drain and right into the river.

Shelton told the aldermen that in the past two weeks he has been speaking with Landon Davidson from the DEQ, and he was explicit this is not a fine for the actions because the town of Rosman went through the proper channels to notify people of what happened.

“This is just the cost of the damages to the wildlife,” Shelton said. “This is different from being fined. They want a counter offer to have a starting point.”

The DEQ is currently wanting $30,000.

“My recommendation is $4,800, plus the $670 for the Wildlife Resources Commission investigation, which totals $5,477,” Shelton said. “That will be our settlement offer.”

Shelton said the 2019 budget for the Rosman pool is $29,000, and if they have to pay the whole amount requested by the DEQ, then the pool would not open this year.

Town Attorney Donald Barton said it disturbed him that it would take $30,000 to replace a “bunch of chub suckers.”

Shelton said he asked the DEQ if the town could restock, but he was told no — that it had to be done through the Wildlife Resources Commission.

A motion was made by Alderman Mark Miller to offer the $5,477 to the DEQ and was seconded by Alderman Larry Bullock.

A discussion about making the town of Rosman property tobacco and vape free also took place during the regular meeting. Shelton said there was a problem with underage smoking in the park behind the pool, and that they were also vaping “other things.”

Shelton said he would like the rules to be similar to how the schools operate, with a tobacco-free ordinance.

“I pick up syringes all the time in the park. It’s not a good family environment,” he said.

Barton said the town does not have the police power and an ordinance could be viewed as zoning.

Shelton said there would need to be some public meetings about an ordinance and it would take the time to publish notices of the meetings in The Transylvania Times.


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