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Fishing pier an ill-advised scheme

By Staff | Aug 26, 2009

To the editor,

Kudos to the Island Reporter for exposing Lee County’s latest scheme to sabotage Sanibel businesses, raid city revenues, and – in effect – kill the goose that lays its golden eggs.

What’s not to like about adding a fishing pier to the Sanibel Causeway? Well, at the Oct. 21 2008 City Council meeting, where Lee County Department of Transportation Deputy Director Paul Wingard presented plans for that project, Council Members decided it’s a bad idea:

We have a fishing pier on Sanibel, which – for many years – has attracted anglers who not only fish but also spend money on the Island for bait, food, beverages and ice;

Folks who use the Sanibel fishing pier pay parking fees that go toward the cost of maintaining beach facilities. A competing pier on the causeway will eliminate the need to come onto the Island, and vital parking revenues will plummet. The county will still rake in toll money, of course of which Sanibel receives not one penny;

The County plans to license a concession that will sell bait and perhaps a few food/beverage items on their pier. If this operation is anything like the setups they allow on the causeway islands, it will be just as shoddy plus, it will take money from island businesses;

The pier will feature a number of tall “shade structures” that will protrude above the railing of the causeway bridge. These garish erections will not only obstruct the view of the bay, they will impart a Coney Island atmosphere to our Sanctuary Island gateway;

To spend more than a million dollars on a superfluous project when so many Lee County voters have lost their jobs and homes, and county capital improvement funds have been slashed, is nothing short of criminal.

I hope everyone who reads this will follow the Island Reporter’s advice to contact Lee County Commissioners, who have the power to veto this ill-advised scheme. We need a majority of three votes, so please be sure to e-mail all five Commissioners: dist1@leegov.com, dist2@leegov.com, dist3@leegov.com, dist4@leegov.com and dist5@leegov.com.

Together we thwarted Lee County’s scheme to dismantle causeway toll discounts. If we generate the same level of energy, I’m optimistic we can foil this plot as well.

Claudia Burns