Controversial decision on Chiquita Lock pushed to March
The Chiquita Lock has been a part of Cape Coral’s landscape since the early 1980’s.
Now, the 35-year-old Lock is showing its age, and the city says it has got to go.
Many boaters are on board with Cape Coral’s plans to remove it.
“Every time it backs up so far that way that it takes an hour just to get through the lock,” said one frustrated boater.
The lock does provide gulf access from Cape Harbor, but that’s not all.
“The lock was there to facilitate treating Florida’s storm water runoff, and if you take the lock out, you’re going to lose storm water treatment capacity,” said John Cassani, a Calusa Waterkeeper.
He hopes the Department of Environmental Protection creates a “wake” and denies the permit for the lock’s removal.
“For the DEP to give the cape a permit to remove it, the cape has to prove they’re not going to add additional pollution as a result of removing the lock,” Cassani said.
According to documents submitted, the city argues removing the lock wouldn’t be harmful, and instead, it will improve boater traffic safety.
Originally, the DEP was going to deny or approve the permit this month. However, the city is now waiving that timeline, pushing off the decision, while boaters are still hopeful for a green light.
But what about the environmental impacts?
“The federal agency or agencies have determined that it’s likely that removing the lock would have an adverse impact on manatees and smalltooth sawfish and their critical habitat,” Cassani said.
The DEP now has until March to deny or approve a permit for the lock’s removal. Count on WINK News to let you know what happens.