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Letter to the Editor: Better Idea for Beer Can Island/Longboat Key


I just saw Joe McClash's article objecting to the placement of groins and sand re-nourishment for the north end of Long Boat Key. Basically the Town of Longboat Key wants to destroy the natural beauty of the north end of the Key to protect a few houses – houses that should have never been allowed to be built.

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The above picture says it all. The beach has a 'natural curve' that is interrupted by a seawall. So, in order to protect a few properties and a seawall, the Town of Longboat Key has learned that installing sand is futile and now they want to install a groin and jetty to "anchor the sand," while destroying the natural beauty of the north end of the key.

From the standpoint of common sense (i.e. what the picture so graphically points out), if the town wants to spend money and address the problem, they should buy out the two or three condo buildings that stick out (and remove the sea wall so the beach can assume it's natural shape and stabilization). The owners of the North Shore development may also be included in the program, which would be a one time fix, as opposed to an on-going maintenance issue. 

My Suggestion

In addition to being a sedimentary geologist, I worked for DuPont in the environmental regulatory field for 25 years with a variety of experiences that centered on "large scale projects that had to take into account community review and involvement."  

While I don't have Mr. McClash's political perspective of Manatee County, I do have experience in seeing how getting higher level politicians involved can shape local issues (i.e. Senators and Representatives at the federal level can hold the local elected officials accountable); using the environmental review process (Environmental Impact Statements) or any other state/federal oversight to generate a report that presents and unbiased review of all sides of the issue; and lastly, getting the community involved (so that the beauty of the Beer Can Island isn't lost just because the Town of Longboat Key wants an easy fix to a problem that they allowed to happen).

Hopefully, you will be able to get a regulatory review (i.e. an EIS) initiated. This will stop the project and enable the public (and permitting authorities) to understand all sides of the issue before committing  to this work.

Cliff Olson


editor's note: Click here to sign a petition to save Beer Can Island.


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