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Proposed trash transfer station dumps big problem in Mandarin community, neighbors say

MANDARIN, Fla. — A proposed waste transfer station is receiving pushback from neighbors in the Greenland Chase community in Mandarin.

Waste Pro purchased a 39 acre site at 6595 Columbia Park Court from Shepherd of the Woods Lutheran Church in September last year. It’s less than 800 feet from Greenland Chase and Greenland Park.

The company is proposing building a waste transfer station where smaller trucks would dump off garbage for larger trucks to pick up. Waste Pro argues it’s a solution to increased trash pickup demand.

In a statement to Action News Jax, the company said, “Waste Pro is proud to have been selected by the City of Jacksonville to manage and operate this solid waste transfer station. It is a strategic decision resulting in multiple benefits to the residents of Jacksonville.”

Some Mandarin neighbors said they don’t agree, citing health and environmental concerns the facility could bring less than 800 feet from their homes, many of which use well water, and Greenland park.

“If pollutants get in there — what is that going to do to those families. Some have been ingrained in that community for 50 to 75 years,” Norm Brewer, a neighbor, said. “We all know that wherever there’s garbage — you have pests. The pest infestation is going to increase with insects,” Hirakant Shet, another neighbor, added.

Neighbors showed up at Tuesday’s city council meeting for the second time in red since the proposal was announced. It will have to be rezoned and passed through council, which Brewer expects could be pushed off until late July.

Waste Pro would not comment on the concern and said it would be “inappropriate to comment on overall aspects of the project not related to operations.”

The company has also not yet responded to our request for an updated response after continued pushback from neighbors.

But representatives with the company did join Council Member Danny Becton to meet with neighbors May 27. Many said their questions still weren’t answered.

“We’re here and we’re not going away. We love our city, we love our community and we’re going to fight for it,” Brewer said.

The City of Jacksonville tells Action News Jax, “as is the case with a multitude of industries across the country, private solid waste companies are struggling to find and keep employees.”

A city representative said that has led to delayed pickups and city employees are working 7 days a week to keep up with the demand.

In March, Waste Pro missed a total of 3,961 pickups. In April, it dropped to a total of 3,604, which the city said is just about 1% of the 280,000 total trash pickups across the city.