FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla.,- Growing concerns about the health of businesses on Fort Myers Beach. Two of our representatives toured both Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach today, to get a glimpse of the economic problems stemming from the Lake Okeechobee water releases.
The "future" was the topic for Fort Myers Beach business owners worried about the damaging effects of Lake Okeechobee water releases.
"I think a lot of voices, a lot of people, who talk the same message, can send a message to the correct people who can make a difference," said Ellis Etter, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Pink Shell Resort.
Business leaders spoke to Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto and Representative Ray Rodrigues telling them what they deal with daily, hoping Tallahassee will act quickly.
"It isn't just what we are going to tell them, it is what we are going to show them. The aerial pictures of the area, both before and after, speak volumes about the challenges we are facing in one of the best places in the world to vacation," said Senator Benacquisto.
The Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce did a survey in the third week of August asking island businesses how their visitors were reacting to the water. In a couple of questions, over 50% say they were cancelling or leaving early, and some saying they won't be coming back to Fort Myers Beach.
"It's very disappointing to hear them say they won't be coming back, there are so many other options they can go to where they aren't affected by the water quality and that's a bit disheartening," said Etter.
A $90 million bridge project that will flow water into the Everglades, maintaining clean water standards, and water storage plans are some solutions in the works.