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CEPD works to strengthen community relations, educate public about beach nourishment

By Staff | Oct 22, 2009

Before and after the regular monthly meeting of the Captiva Erosion

Prevention district, commissioners discussed a new course of action in improving the organization’s community relations.

Bob Gray of Partners in Progress worked with commissioners Mike Mullins and Doris Holzheimer to brainstorm new ideas in establishing a stronger presence for the CEPD in the community.

“We discussed what kinds of tactics we might employ. We talked about the need to have some additional resources to work on the research and logistics and the preparation of these materials,” Holzheimer said, explaining to commissioners that she, Mullins and Gray had spent the morning identifying what work needs to be done and what the next steps would be.

“We went over the underpinnings of a community relations plan in terms of who are the groups that we’re trying to reach out to and we covered everyone from Captiva residents and voters, property owners, business associations, Sanibel residents, legislature, etcetera,” said Gray.

Some of the topics from the commissioners’ community relations brainstorming session included increased beach parking, offshore oil and gas drilling and beach nourishment.

“Captiva beach nourishment is the ‘golden goose’ for many different people,” Gray said.

“It’s the golden goose for property owners it gives you a nice beach but it raises the value of your property. It’s the golden goose for the County, for the U.S.”

Gray said that while he and commissioners were at the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association conference, they learned that for every dollar that’s spent on beach nourishment, $320 in taxes wind up in state, federal and local coffers combined.

“If that’s how much they’re collecting in taxes, how much revenue is that bringing into private business? We don’t know. That’s part of the research for the golden goose argument,” Gray said.

Educating the public on the benefits of beach renourishment is one of

the CEPD’s top priorities.

“Why? We need consistency of message to get out there. For all the new people moving in, we need ‘Beaches 101.’ What’s beach erosion? What are you doing out on our beach? We need to collect pictures that show our historical Captiva,” Gray said, emphasizing the importance of showing residents photographs of critically eroded Captiva coastlines as tool for stressing the importance beach nourishment.

“There’s a lot of work to be done for the community relations and outreach. There’s research to be done to get the facts that we need to put into the message,” Gray said.

For more information about the CEPD, call 472-2472.