Editorial: Continue work to dredge Blind Pass
Editonal· news-press.com· Januarv 28.2011
In an ideal world, Lee County commissioners would take emergency action to immediately dredge the sand piling up at Blind Pass, which separates Captiva and Sanibel.
While immediate action appears not to be in the cards at this time, the good news is that county and Captiva officials have agreed to work together to solve the problem and keep residents informed.
Natural forces have formed a sand bar, which needs to be periodically dredged to continue to allow its use for anglers, walkers and small boaters taking a shortcut to the Gulf of Mexico.
It's a jewel of tourism and recreation in Southwest Florida.
The News-Press reported the problem on Thursday, including complaints by Captiva Erosion Prevention District board members that county officials had failed to properly take care of Blind Pass.
Later that day, a meeting was held, which included County Commissioner John Manning, whose district includes Captiva and Sanibel; erosion district board Chairman Michael Mullins; and County Manager Karen Hawes.
They agreed to put their differences aside and work together to provide accurate information to residents including weekly updates on the state permitting process for the dredging.
Manning acknowledged there had been miscommunication and that the county would work to better engage residents through its website, via county staff visits to community meetings and with the help of the erosion district board.
"Mother Nature is what it is. We have to establish a fairly frequent maintenance program," said Manning, in an interview for this editorial.
He said a permit to dredge had been submitted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in October and that approval could come anytime between March and the summer. The county and erosion district board will keep residents abreast of developments. "We have agreed to move forward in unison," said the commissioner.
In Thursday's article, Mullins was critical of the county for spending so much money on things such as a new Red Sox stadium for $70-plus million while projects like Blind Pass dredging seemed to be ignored.
"They are going to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs in Lee County," he said. "Even in the best of times baseball will not contribute as much as the beaches generate."
Of our traditional three-legged economic stool of tourism, construction/real estate and agriculture, tourism is what is sustaining our county the most right now.
We are glad Captiva residents and the county are coming together to solve the problem.
It's a good example of how government and residents can work together.
Yaakow Flamholtz, right, walks along a large sand bar Tuesday (1/25/11) at Blind Pass between Sanibel and Captiva. "This is interesting. I've never seen anything like this before," said Flamholtz.(Kinfay Morotilnewspress.com)