The call to clean up the beach after the storm brings an unexpected response.
“I had never seen anything like it,” Flagler Beach Commissioner Joy McGrew said about the number of people who turned out for a last minute beach cleanup, on Sunday, Oct. 16.
An estimated 170 volunteers, 80% of which Mayor Linda Provencher believes were Flagler Beach residents, responded to a last minute decision to clean up the debris left on the beach by Hurricane Matthew.
“A lot of people have called me, disappointed, because they didn’t know about the cleanup,” Provencher said. “It was so quick. We literally didn’t know we were doing it until the last minute. I didn’t even call the commissioners until late Saturday.”
The goal was to do a four-block stretch of beach on either side of the pier. Volunteers were limited to how far south they could go, since the beach is closed at 9th Street S., but they cleaned as far as 15th Street N.
“We would like to do it again this weekend but so many of our walkovers are gone or damaged. We are going to see which ones can still be used,” Provencher said. “We can’t expect people to walk 20 blocks and then bring back the trash, and we don’t want them trampling on our, already damaged, dunes.”
Last weekend the residents were joined by the Flagler Beach police and fire departments, REACT, the Palm Coast fire department and the Flagler Beach sanitation crew.
With the tide comes more debris, washing in from as far away as North Carolina. Provencher hopes volunteers will continue to come out and help in the upcoming weeks.
“I am telling people, if they didn’t hear about it this weekend, there will be more cleanups,” Provencher said.
If there is a cleanup this weekend, Provencher said it would be posted on the city website: cityofflaglerbeach.com.