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Matlacha Civic sets session on Chiquita lock

By Staff | Mar 14, 2019

Members of the Matlacha Civic Association will bring their anti-lock removal arguments home Monday at an info session to be held in Cape Coral.

Civic, and a group of Cape residents, will present their case against removal of the Chiquita Lock from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Pavilion at Cape Harbour Marina while the Cape Coral City Council holds its regular meeting.

Mike Hannon, who put the event together as well as a lawsuit contesting the lock’s removal, said people in Cape Coral are unaware of how significant the impact of removing the lock will be.

“We have 400 miles of canals, which you don’t see here anymore because the state won’t permit them. We want to make sure we don’t pollute the canals and the Caloosahatchee,” Hannon said. “We’re hoping to educate the public so that they support our lawsuit and call up the city council.”

The removal has been in the works for years and the city received a notice of approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection in November.

Yolanda Olson, a Cape Coral Realtor and a resident near the lock, said over the summer while on the boat, they saw blue-green algae near Rumrunner’s, but none on the other side of the lock. She said Cape residents need to know these things.

“This is an educational event. We’re going to try to have many experts there and people can talk about it,” Olson said. “We want as many people there as we can and really want to get the word out.”

The Matlacha Civic Association and others have filed a lawsuit against the city of Cape Coral and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to prevent removal of the Chiquita Lock.

Experts in clean water advocates assisting MCA in the lawsuit will make presentations to the audience on the science they say supports keeping the lock. MCA representatives also will provide an update on what has occurred regarding the lawsuit to date.

The event will have different topics to be discussed at different stations, with flyers, documents and posters at each .

The topics include the city’s canals, the effects of blue-green algae, the Ceitus Boat Lock removal, the model for the removal at Chiquita, the impacts on Cape Harbour Marina, Pine Island and more.

At 6 p.m., the stations will be eliminated and speakers will hold panel discussions and a Q&A session.

The Cape Harbour Marina location was not an accident. The Pavilion is adjacent to the Chiquita Lock. In addition, opponents predict that removal of the lock will reduce water levels at the marina and at adjacent homeowner docks. This will preclude larger boats from mooring at the marina, and interfere with most boaters using the spreader canal at low tide, they maintain.

MCA will discuss how the removal of the Chiquita Lock would also cause environmental damage to the waters of the Caloosahatchee River, San Carlos Bay, Sanibel and Matlacha Estuary.

MCA will also be operating an information booth at the Cape Harbour Water and Wheels show on March 23-24.

The civic groups has additional information at www.matlachacivicassociation.com

FDEP?has related documents at floridadep.gov/south/sd-permitting/content/projects-heightened-public-concerns

Cape Harbour Marina is at 5825 Cape Harbour Drive, in Cape Coral.