Mahogany wood scraps left over after the Havensight Mall tree removal project that were alleged to have been stolen are sitting in a pile at Bolongo Bay Beach Resort.
Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls admitted that there was some question as to where the wood was and why it did not make it to the drop site. He also confirmed that wood pieces larger than eight inches in diameter would be kept, while the rest would be dumped at a landfill.
Smalls explained that there are only two drop sites for the wood, one for debris and one for wood that can be used, and the missing wood was not found at either site.
Bolongo resort manager Paul Doumeng said the wood in question does not consist of large, useable pieces, but rather small branches and debris that were being brought to a landfill.
“There was this eight-inch limit,” Doumeng said, “so things above eight inches went in a truck elsewhere. Stuff that was smaller or bushes or whatever were going to the landfill.”
“Officially everything in the dump is kind of public,” he said. “It’s still garbage and it’s still waste whether someone drops it off or we pick it up from the landfill.”
Doumeng explained how he came upon the extra wood, noting that when Bolongo employees learned the scrap wood was going to a landfill, they decided to request to keep it instead. He said they plan on turning the wood into mulch for the resort property.
“These guys were good,” he said of the Public Works employees who dropped off the scrap wood. “They obviously didn’t give us anything over eight.”
Smalls said “allegations have been brought forth” and that Public Works would turn the investigation over to the authorities.
Doumeng joked about the fuss over what he said was considered trash. “Other media made it seem like all the underworld wood stealers came in and confiscated the wood,” he said. “It’s still here. I don’t run a secret underworld bush market.”
As to the remaining usable wood, Smalls said that the wood might go towards the community, after the recent public outcry about the tree cutting, but that he was only guessing because a real decision hadn’t been made. He said it might go to the company who cut the trees.
The wood might be thrown out if it’s determined "diseased," he said, but in the earlier controversy about cutting the trees it was determined the trees weren’t sick.
Smalls reiterated it was not yet clear what the Department of Public Works plans to do with the useable wood.