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Captiva Community Panel discusses hurricane cleanup, two new projects

By Staff | Oct 18, 2017

During the monthly Captiva Community Panel meeting that was held Tuesday, Oct. 10, Captiva Fire District Chief Rich Dickerson said it may take Captiva anywhere from two to four months to clear the debris that lines the road following Hurricane Irma. The island was fortunate to not have much damage besides downed trees. Dickerson said that most people evacuated the island.

“We dodged a bazooka, we really did,” Dickerson said. “As far as storm surge, we really got off lucky.”

Dickerson noted that the island was opened much faster this time around compared to Hurricane Charley. Dickerson also said he is hoping to install a grinder behind the conference room at South Seas Island Resort to help speed up the process of getting the road cleared from debris.

Dickerson said that with the grinder, the roads should be cleared within two months instead of four months.

Post-Irma, the panel decided that there should be an emergency contact for Captiva if a natural disaster strikes.

“One point that seems to be clear is that we need a communication focal point within the county, we did get one after (Hurricane) Charley but it would be nice to establishment relationships ahead of time for issues we have to deal with. There should be someone that we can go to,” said Mike Mullins, panel member.

The panel plans to go before Lee County Commissioner John Manning to get a designated person for matters relating to Captiva.

“It needs to be his decision to tell us who we should work with,” Mullins said.

During the meeting, it was also announced that ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa would begin the process of building a new kitchen in April. The kitchen is expected to be finished by September 2018. During construction, a temporary kitchen will be used between the cottages and the Crow’s Nest.

“We’re doing it off-season so it doesn’t affect traffic,” said Rene Affourtit, chief financial officer of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts.

Affourtit estimates the kitchen will cost close to $1 million to build. He also said that construction will not be able to be seen from the road.

The second project the panel heard during the meeting involved changing the layout of the parking lot of Latte Da Coffee Shop & Deli on Andy Rosse Lane which will be the home of Sunshine Cafe next month. Sunshine Cafe is currently located on Captiva Drive.

Sandy Stilwell, CEO of Stilwell Enterprises said the parking lot will be reduced from 22 to 20 spaces to allow for parking for golf carts.

There were no objections to both projects from panel members or the audience.

As the year is coming to a close, new seats are being filled on the panel. Antje Baumgarten will fill Stilwell’s position which expires in December. Vice President David Mintz and Panel Member Dave Jensen’s three-year terms are expiring – both seek to be reappointed again. The two seats, Sea Level Rise Impacts and Mangrove Protection and Water Quality, still need to be filled.

The next panel meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 14 in the Cone Room at South Seas Island Resort.