An ordinance prohibiting mud boats from trespassing on public and private property that passed the Plaquemines Parish Council unanimously just last week likely will be modified or scuttled entirely, according to comments from the council chairman on Wednesday.
"I think you’re wasting your time and effort on it right now because it’s probably either going to be rescinded or be modified because the lady who introduced it did it at the behest of somebody else, and I don’t think that it’s going to have any traction down the road,” said Benny Rousselle, who serves as council chairman and represents District 5. “So I think it’s going to be actually modified or rescinded or vetoed.”
The ordinance introduced by District 9 council member Nicole Smith Williams prohibits “commercial and recreational mud boats from trespassing on public and private property located within the boundaries of Plaquemines Parish without the written permission of the landowners,” and also establishes enforcement provisions for violators.
Williams did not return a phone call seeking comment on the ordinance, which stipulates that all property subject to the ordinance be conspicuously posted with “No Trespassing” signs. Anyone convicted of violating the ordinance would be fined between $50 and $500, the ordinance states.
The ordinance, No. 15-63, was adopted by the Plaquemines Parish Council on May 14, with only council member Jeff Edgecombe absent. All other members were present and voted for the measure, according to a draft of the resolution obtained by LouisianaSportsman.com.
Capt. Ryan Lambert, who operates Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras, was worried about the ordinance’s potential economic impact on the parish.
“How many hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars did they cut themselves out of if people can’t go use their mud boats to go down there to duck hunt?” Lambert said. “You talk about a hit to the economy. I don’t know what’s wrong with these people.
“They’re shooting themselves in the foot.”
The ordinance did not stipulate exactly which public property was involved or how someone could get written permission to access it.
“They’re already down $15 million in their budget. I think they’re crazy, that’s what I think,” Lambert said. “They don’t have the money to put signs out, they don’t have the money to enforce it, but yet they do something like this that will cost them millions of dollars.
“You know how many people sleep in hotels and use the marinas every day for duck hunting? Hundreds.”
Rousselle couldn’t explain Wednesday how an ordinance that passed the council unanimously less than a week ago could already be facing modification or potential removal.
“Because everybody voted for it,” Rouselle said. “That’s all I can tell you.”
Parish President Amos Cormier Jr. was out of town and unavailable for comment, according to a secretary in his office.