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Protect our ecosystem

By Staff | Apr 6, 2021

To the editor:

All of us who live here know that Sanibel is a very special place. We don’t need the Tourist Development Council of Lee County to tell us this. We don’t need the Chamber of Commerce to continually promote and advertise it.

We also don’t need the editors of Southern Living magazine to grace their cover with Sanibel’s “natural wonders,” inviting thousands more visitors down to clog our two-lane roads and lanes with cars and bicycles, trample our beaches, take our shells (living and dead), disturb our birds and tortoises and sea turtles and otters, stress the fragile ecosystem and generally destroy the peace and quiet of our island.

As a permanent full-time resident, I resent these endless promotions. I don’t go out to restaurants during “season” because I won’t wait two hours on a Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. I don’t like wasting time in the parade of cars just to get to the grocery store. Or mail a parcel. One can only imagine the effect all that carbon emission has on the environment. The noise pollution is also very detrimental to both humans and wildlife.

My out-of-the-way neighborhood used to consist of mostly permanent residents and a handful of snowbirds. Now, there is only a handful of residents and the rest are revolving door vacation rentals, constantly changing people, dogs and visitors. The spandex-clad bikers have discovered our quiet road and think nothing of speeding round and round with no thought to people hoping for a quiet walk.

It used to be that the summer was a moratorium on the noise and the congestion and the pollution, but with all the advertising and promotion and open invitations to “Come to Sanibel!”, I find that is no longer the case.

I am very concerned that the resorts and hotels, in an effort to take advantage of the swelling visitor population, may start proposing to expand their accommodations by building “up,” such as is happening on the barrier islands of Sarasota. Be aware of what might be going on in our Sanibel City Council, Building and Planning meetings. Make it your business to know what is being proposed, allowed and who is given variances.

Inch by inch, variance by variance, advertisement by advertisement, promotion by promotion, the Sanibel we have all come to know and love could be destroyed. Things will be lost that we can never get back. Do we really want to end up looking like the east coast of Florida?

Susan Wener