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Face north and the sorry spectacle of the former Halaco metal recycling facility at Ormond Beach in South Oxnard makes you wince. Crumbling, toxic, graffiti covered and forlorn, it has to be the biggest eyesore in Southern California.
Face south and you find the restful solace of one of the few remaining coastal wetlands in the state. “We have just 4 1/2 percent of our coastal wetlands left, ” said Jean Rountree of the Beacon Foundation. “This is out of thousands and thousands of acres lost to industry and development.” She’d like to see the area become a haven for birders and environmental tourists one day.
Yet next to this environmentally sensitive site is a man-made blunder. Highly toxic and abandoned in 2004, the Halaco site will cost between $20-50 million to clean up, Allen Sanders of the Ormond Beach Observers told me. As I talked to Sanders and Paul Felix of Oxnard at the site, a charming little bird flew overhead.