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Action urged on land purchase

By Staff | Apr 1, 2015

To the editor:

We don’t understand why the Sanibel city council and especially Mayor Ruane have been silent on the push for land acquisition south of Lake Okeechobee to accomplish a huge step in true Everglades restoration. Having an outlet for excess water to the south is the only solution to addressing the high flow of polluted releases to the Caloosahatchee that turned the river, (Pine Island) Sound and Gulf a sickening brown color in 2013. None of the other reservoir projects address this need. This is a critical issue and timing is very short.

Sanibel and other Lee County city officials did great work last year, forming the multi-city coalition and lobbying in Washington and Tallahassee on the water bill. But now the time is short to get the Florida legislature to approve funding for the land acquisition. If action is not taken by the end of the legislative session, the window on this land purchase will close. Funds are available by bonding real estate transfer fees via the Amendment 1 passage last year. But there are several elected representatives, including Rep. Caldwell of North Fort Myers, the House speaker and Gov. Scott who, unbelievably, are opposed to taking this action.

We ask (city) council to take a formal public stand now to show that our city and its taxpayers support the land purchase. And work to get Lee County communities rallied to have a strong voice on this issue to achieve approval for the land purchase, which must occur by the end of April.

Bill and Shelley Greggs

Sanibel Island