Sanibel disaster preparedness
To the editor,
A statement at Tuesday’s Planning Commission made it clear that Lee County and the Florida Governor are coordinating the region’s planned response to any oil that may despoil our beaches.
I would be more comfortable with this approach if the citizens of Sanibel were at least aware of what those plans were. Communication on this issue with the public has been non-existent.
The impression I got at the last City Council meeting was that the "unified command" (i.e. BP and the federal government) were in charge and individuals had no role to play. This is a sad statement for Sanibel which, as a sanctuary Island, is home to organizations and capable individuals dedicated to preserving our coastal waters and wildlife.
Captiva has shown great leadership in drafting its own oil spill protection plan and organizing OSHA-certified post emergency beach cleanup training for volunteers. If our beaches and wildlife are inundated with oil, trained local individuals would be a great asset in mitigating the damage.
The little community of Magnolia Springs Ala. (population 1,000) has taken action to protect its own beaches (page A16, New York Times 6/8/2010). The mayor of that small town stated “we’re not going to wait for BP; the lesson we learned from Louisiana is to act not wait."
The City of Sanibel needs to adopt the same spirit – communicate the plan and facilitate resident preparedness.