By Mary Thurwachter

    Cynthia Cain goes to the beach every day.
    “I’m not much of a sunbather type of girl, but I like to walk along the shore and swim,” the Lantana resident said. “I have six grandchildren 10 and under and I like to take them, too.”
    But by the third weekend in May, Cain wasn’t loving the beach so much. She said she was “totally disgusted with all the seaweed” that was covering the beach. It has been bad for a while, she said, but that weekend, she had seen enough.
    After sending several emails to the Town Council and Town Manager Deborah Manzo asking for the beach to be cleaned of the seaweed, she attended the May 22 town meeting. Mayor Dave Stewart had her complaint added to the agenda for discussion.
    There was discussion, but no action was taken, at least not the kind Cain wanted.
    “Seaweed cannot be removed,” said Stewart. “It’s a Town Council policy.”
    Vice Mayor Lynn Moorhouse added: “I don’t think it’s legal.”
    Seaweed, Moorhouse said, is essential for marine life. It keeps replacement sand on beaches, offers crucial delicacies such as crabs and snails to seabirds, and provides nutrients to plants on dunes.
    And not removing it is what Dan Bates, deputy director of the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management, recommends, according to Stewart.
    “A month ago, I was on the beach for the Earth Day cleanup and I didn’t see a problem with it,” Stewart said.
    Not complying with what Bates recommends could cost the town millions for beach restoration, council members suggested.
    Council member Ed Shropshire said: “I know it’s not pretty and doesn’t smell good, but it’s part of the environment. In three weeks it’ll be gone, washed back into the sea.”
    Council member Phil Aridas said he wasn’t in favor of moving the seaweed. “You can always kick it aside and lay down your beach blanket.”
    But Cain wasn’t buying it. “Quite honestly, we have the worst beach around,” she said, “and I’m not the only one saying it. The lifeguard hears about it all day.”
    A beach stabilization project has been delayed by a year because project managers don’t have all the easement agreements and government permits they need to begin work.
    In other action, the council:
    • Authorized spending $4,658 from the town’s Law Enforcement Trust fund for enhanced ballistic body armor for the Police Department.
    • Heard a report on the Greater Lantana School Community Education Council from Chairwoman Lyn Tate.
    • Set its first budget workshop for 5:30 p.m. June 12.

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