As part of the initiative to formalize the actions taken by the TDC during this month’s regularly scheduled board meeting, Dan Rowe, President of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and Marty McDaniel, Chairman of the TDC signed a letter sent out to local tourism industry partner businesses. The letter explains the increase in trash receptacles and asks for support in keeping our beaches clean.
The letter in full:
Dear Tourism Industry Partner:
Expressing its ongoing commitment to the future of Panama City Beach, the Bay County Tourist Development Council (TDC) adopted a Strategic Plan. That Plan focuses on developing Panama City Beach into a year-round destination, promoting our world-class beaches and enhancing each visitor’s experience. For each of these initiatives outlined in the Plan, we MUST continue to protect and preserve Panama City Beach’s primary natural resource and attraction – the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the sugar-white sands of our shorelines.
To further our ability to beautify, protect and market our beach, last week the TDC Board of Directors took action by earmarking an additional $250,000 to enhance our annual “Keep the Beaches Clean” Campaign. These additional funds will support immediate tactics that address the overwhelming increase of visitors and traffic our beaches experience during the spring and summer months, as well as long term strategies that focus on public awareness and year-round maintenance and upkeep.
Effective immediately, the TDC increased the number of trash receptacles on the beach from 578 to 778 barrels. During Spring Break, an additional 200 barrels were deployed in heavily trafficked areas of the beach. The TDC also authorized our beach maintenance contractor to increase the number of times the beach is raked throughout the year, including the daily raking of impacted areas during Spring Break and immediately following peak holidays. Additionally, the TDC is investigating, and is considering different alternatives for providing biodegradable trash bags at public beach points as part of this campaign.
As important as the TDC’s efforts are, the businesses located on the beachfront share in the responsibility of picking up trash behind their respective places of business. Last week the City Council of the City of Panama City Beach asked us to include with this letter the portion of the current litter prevention ordinance which requires owners along the corridors most travelled by tourists to keep their property free of litter (Chapter 12, Garbage and Trash, Section 12-7). The City has asked us to remind everyone in the City that this Section carries a baseline civil penalty of $250 per day. If you have specific questions about this ordinance, please contact Panama City Beach Code Enforcement.
We strongly encourage each of you to join the TDC in improving, protecting and maintaining the beaches by picking up the trash behind your property. With your support and partnership, we can protect and preserve the unparalleled beauty of Panama City Beach for locals and visitors to enjoy each day of the year.
To read the ordinances, download the full letter with the ordinances included here.
I think this is a good move. Not specifically talking about the $250 mentioned above, but I don’t think the penalty is severe enough for litterers. Growing up in Texas, there were state-wide advertising campaigns encouraging people to put “trash in its place.” “Don’t Mess With Texas,” I think they even commissioned Willie Nelson to write a song and make a music video. In Plano, there were fines of $500 doled out when you threw trash out of your window. It was considered a serious offense, and growing up in that type of environment has distilled in me that littering is wrong. To this day, I don’t even throw as much as a bubble gum wrapper out of my window.
Spring Break is nasty, but this goes way beyond Spring Break. This comes down to keeping our whole area clean, ALL THE TIME. I think this is a step in the right direction with regards to our tourist activities, but the City needs to step up and increase the litter fines and beef up the enforcement. This is a win-win scenario (except for those inconsiderate enough to litter) – the City creates a way to increase revenue, and the community as a whole benefits from a cleaner Panama City Beach. I’m not usually for expanding government in any way, but some times some things are just necesary.Print Story