Belmar was motivated by a ticking clock and not environmentalists when it chose to drop rainforest timber as its boardwalk decking, Mayor Matt Doherty said.
The Sierra Club was prepared to fight over the use of ipe rainforest timber, saying the wood is harvested, causing great damage to rainforest ecosystems. Doherty said the borough was using timber that was certified as more environmentally sound, and that the company that harvested ipe was also reforesting the species there.
However, Belmar switched from the use of ipe after seeing that a legal fight over its use would slow boardwalk construction, Doherty said.
"We'd likely win a fight, but it could last as long as 60 days," Doherty said. "We're not going to stop construction for 60 days. That's just not happening."
Belmar is pushing forward on reopening its boardwalk for Memorial Day, and has 1.3 miles of boardwalk to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy uprooted nearly all he beachfront.
In order to be ready, Belmar is aggressively pushing forward on its rebuilding plans. A $6 million contract for Epic Construction to rebuild has a bonus for completing the project before April 30 and daily penalties for lateness.
With the pilings portion already underway, Belmar can't afford to be tied up in a legal battle over the type of planks it uses, Doherty said.