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P&Z backs anti-barrier petition

By Staff | Jan 5, 2011

Cape Coral’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously supported a citizen petition drive to block replacing the Cietus Boat lift/barrier in the North Spreader Canal on Wednesday.
The petition, organized and circulated by the Northwest Neighborhood Association, has hundreds of signatures so far, and the group hopes for thousands.
NWNA member Nate Bliss told the commission that erroneous information is circulating about the health of the city’s waters.
“One of the lies that’s being told is that Cape Coral waters are polluting the waters of Matlacha Pass and that is not true,” Bliss told the commission. “Cape Coral water is cleaner than Matlacha water.”
Following the North Spreader Ecosystem Management Agreement process, of which Bliss was a stakeholder, the city had to apply for a permit to replace the boat lift/barrier.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently requested more information before approving the permit.
P&Z Commissioner Gene Wolfe invited Cape City Councilmember Pete Brandt to speak before the commission Wednesday.
Brandt said he wants to use any and every opportunity to refute “unfounded and inaccurate” statements about the scientific data that supports a set of environmental projects being a greater benefit to the North Spreader Canal than the boat lift/barrier.
He said stakeholder-made decisions based on issues other than science.
“Votes were based on political science instead of physical science,” Brandt said.
The NWNA’s petition will be made available at the city council’s office, on the city website and through Brandt.
P&Z Commissioner Steve Cristaldi said replacing the boat lift/barrier will damage the estuary’s wildlife.
“We’re sitting here with this situation … if we’re polluting the water then stop the polluters,” he said. “To manipulate wildlife and estuaries and fish breeding grounds, it’s wrong.”