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The deluge is yet to come

By Staff | Nov 25, 2015

To the editor:?

The tourism industry has great plans for Sanibel.

Traffic and crowding can only get worse. The Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau are spending ten million dollars on TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine advertisements all over the world to market our island as a tourist destination.

At a recent meeting the Bureau predicted a 12 percent increase in visitors over last year. The keynote speaker, a president of an advertising firm, told county tourism promoters that future tourists won’t be “content to merely relax on a beach.”

They will want new experiences and novelties. If they are not content with relaxing on a beach, will they be satisfied with seeing dead animals or relics of a bygone era in museums?

John Lai, president of the Inns of Sanibel and president of the Lee County Hotel Association said it means a different train of thought from the past 20 years.

Does this mean Sanibel will become another Disneyland? Will the promoters provide personal watercrafts so the tourists can chase dolphins and attack manatees?

What about casinos and multi-storied resorts to entertain future visitors?

Impossible, you say; the Sanibel Plan will protect us! The city council has shredded the Sanibel Plan.

These lapdogs of business, by their failure to implement the ‘Dark Skies’ ordinance demonstrated a lack of concern for our environment.

By approving the new Doc Ford’s restaurant and their failure to address the traffic situation, they revealed their contempt for the tax-paying citizens of Sanibel.

When the council allows Billy’s Bikes to put platoons of motorized vehicles on the [nonmotrized] common use pathways, what is there to stop them from allowing dune buggy races on the beach?

Would the council prevent Mr. Harrity from putting Tiki bars on the beach so thirsty visitors can raise a languid hand to order a rum drink?

The promoter’s vision for Sanibel is the same plan for mega resorts and four lane highways that caused concerned citizens to incorporate our city.

Can the areas set aside for wildlife be developed for resorts, condominiums and acres of parking lots? Don’t bet against it. In other areas, the government and big money interests have taken property in the name of “higher economic use.”

The non-profit organizations that are supposed to protect the island welcome big donors to their boards of directors. Will these directors have a conflict of interest and decide in favor of developers with big bucks? If so, there goes the wildlife preserves.

Ah, well, who will argue against a blueprint for changing a tranquil island into a “vibrant tourist destination” that will enrich developers and line the pockets of politicians?

Dr. John Raffensberger

Sanibel