Not in a preserve
To the editor,
Let me begin by saying that I am a Sanibel resident and have two dogs that I adore. I am not categorically opposed to a dog park even though one of my dogs was mauled at such a park a few years ago. I am, however, opposed to locating a dog park in the middle of a preserve for reasons that should be obvious to all.
Federal and state money was used to restore habitat in the Sanibel Gardens Preserve. Removing this parcel from its protected status for the benefit of people and dogs that don’t even live here is outrageous. Sanibel claims to be a sanctuary island. To allow this change of land status is total hypocrisy.
To refer to the proposed area as a burn site is deliberately misleading. It cannot be used as a burn site without waiver of protection from the three residences within the 1,000 foot buffer zone as required by the State of Florida. The one exception to this would be a declared emergency by the Governor, a rare event indeed.
The dog park proponents have asked where all the opposition was early in the process. First of all, most people that I know thought the site under consideration was Gulfside City Park. Second and most important is that we never thought for a minute that our elected officials who claim to be concerned about conservation when they are running for office would entertain such misuse of preserve land.
Please understand that this referendum is not a benign vote about a dog park. It sets a very dangerous precedent for fragmenting conservation land with far reaching negative possibilities for all of us who love this island.
Please vote no on March 3.