The Siesta Key Association and Siesta Key Village Association soon may collaborate on an effort to keep the Key’s beaches cleaner.
SKA President Catherine Luckner and SKA Vice President Peter van Roekens suggested the groups discuss a proposal to make trash bags available at all 14 accesses on Siesta Key and look into the possibility of obtaining a grant to fund the initiative.
During the Dec. 1 SKA meeting, board member Helen Clifford said someone recently suggested to her that if such trash-bag stations were available at the beach, people might be more inclined to pick up after themselves.
The SKA already has stations located around the island where residents can grab bags to use in picking up pet waste.
Audience member Katherine Zimmerman told the SKA board she did not believe making the bags available would result in any improvements. She predicted only two people out of 200 might take advantage of the availability of the bags.
She and her husband, Detlef, walk the beach every day at 5 p.m., she said, and they always carry a bag to collect any trash they find. One day, she said, a woman walked up to her husband and tried to give him her trash. He refused to take it.
When Zimmerman complained about the amount of garbage on the beach, Van Roekens, who lives at Terrace East, on the west end of Ocean Boulevard, told Zimmerman, he finds the beach “amazingly clean.”
“Maybe it’s because you’ve been there earlier,” he joked.
Zimmerman disagreed with his assessment.
“(People) just don’t care,” she said.
However, Jonathan Poyner, the events manager at Siesta Public Beach, agreed with van Roekens.
“I’m amazed (at the cleanliness on Siesta),” Poyner said. “I’ve been to some very dirty beaches.”
Russell Matthes, SKVA president, suggested no negative results would come from making trash bags available at the beach. He added that Village businesses and others on the Key may be willing to pay for the bags, because they could advertise by putting their logos on the bags.
“That’s a great idea,” said Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on the Key. “I think even if you got three or four people a day who decided to (pick up beach trash) … that would be very useful.”
SKA board member Deet Jonker proposed the SKA sponsor the project, with trash bags available at each of the Siesta beach accesses, as long as the county zoning code would permit the initiative.
SKA Secretary Joyce Kouba suggested the bags could be available at the posts at every access that explain rules for the beach, such as the prohibitions on smoking and dogs.
Jonker recommended the SKA board pay for the purchase of the bags if the county would put up posts at the accesses.
SKA board member Beverly Arias said new visitors to Siesta Public Beach do not realize they will find no trashcans on the beach itself. She suggested county signage at the accesses inform people.
“People actually … were complaining about the ugliness of the trashcans on the beach,” Patterson said of the trashcans’ removal from the beach.
“And I’m sure there is some savings (in county costs by having them just at the accesses),” she said.