Additional Harbor Access Updates

Our City of Punta Gorda is known as a boating community

In our past, projects have been envisioned and developed that have resulted in the beautiful community that Punta Gorda is today.  If not for the visions of those before us, our waterfront, walking/cycling paths and our downtown areas would not be what we enjoy today.

The PGI community and canal system was the vision of a handful of people in the late 1950’s to develop the area into the vibrant boating community it is today. Now, a committee sanctioned by the Punta Gorda Boaters Alliance is looking to help the City move forward to improve our canal system with the development of a southern access from the canal system to Charlotte Harbor.

Public support has been instrumental in moving this project forward. With supporting attendance at meetings in the hundreds, in mid-2015, the project moved out of the hands of the Committee and into the hands of the engineering department and the City Council of Punta Gorda.

Primary goals:

  1. To lessen boating pressure on Ponce de Leon Inlet and Park
  2. Safer canals
  3. Quicker access to Charlotte Harbor for those in the southern areas, such as the Bird Section of PGI

After project completion, additional possible benefits:

  1. Less rapid tide currents in certain areas
  2. Better water exchange within the canal system
  3. Improved fish habitat both within the canal system and at the access
  4. Southbound cruisers will be half-way down the harbor

Some of the past obstacles are now surmountable, including:

  1. Land access
  2. Political will
  3. Cost, funding

Supporters are encouraged to STAY INVOLVED!

A Letter of Support:

Tony Wyan, Retired VP of Merrill Lynch, May 17, 2016

Being a resident in the Bird Section, access to the harbor takes 35 minutes with regulation speed, however completion of this project will allow me to reach harbor in 5 minutes.

In addition to gas savings, the wear and tear of canal walls will be diminished proportionately saving township time and money in repairs due to present day traffic.

I notice boaters living my distance and further have a tendency to go faster due to distance from Ponce de Leon. The improvement will allow appreciation for those houses and lots within this project’s footprint to go up in price and sell empty lots increasing revenues to our tax base.

This is a win/win solution no matter how you measure impact to the bottom line. Many overseas people wanting to live in a boater’s paradise will opt out of our area due to 35+ minute ride to open water. With the alligator access their time will be greatly reduced thereby making it viable for retiring here thus increasing tax revenue-boat sales-restaurant and business added profits.

An area which prides itself in having the best overall boating and fishing amenities should also provide easy access to enjoy these fantastic attributes.-This project will put us on the map to compete with the more costly areas which provides what we are seeking to engage-the sooner the better…

Info & Public Opinion

Videos & City Presentations from the April 6, 2015 PG City Council Workshop

Here is the PG City Council slide presentation. (4Mb)

City Council meetings are filmed and put on YouTube for the public to view. This meeting is in 2 parts. Here are the links to the 2 videos in their entirety, with references to a few spots of eloquent support. We applaud all those who stood in support of the project!

Video Part 1: Hans Wilson’s talk is at minute 5:37 (time stamp on the video itself), some positive comments at minute 6:32:25, 6:38:21, and 6:41 (people standing in favor.)
Video Part 2: comments run all through this video, Jon Shaddock speaks about the “prize” that we have in Punta Gorda at minute 6:46:30 (time stamp on the video itself)


In Response to the May 3 article in the SUN, letter to the City Council

“There are two sides of the Alligator Creek Access. 
On the side in favor of the access, the residents prepared a preliminary engineering study and came to the council with facts. Not all the facts necessary to make a decision, certainly, but with sufficient information that supported the construction of the canal with either what appears to be either minimal impacts to the environment or favorable impacts. I attended the meeting when the engineer, Mr. Hans Wilson, visited with officials of the DEP where they expressed that the project, as it was proposed and it appears, prior to studies by the various concerned state and federal departments, to be a win for the boaters, a win for the city and a win for the environment. 
The negative side to the proposal came with a lot emotion and few, if any, facts. 
The one fact that remain true is that more study is needed before going ahead with construction. Answers to those questions are found in the permitting process. As the permitting process goes forward, there will be new questions and new answers. Some question will have easy answers and some questions will require mitigation. As the questions are answered, the engineer will modify the cost estimate arriving at the best possible total cost. 
The fact is that there is strong support from the people in the affected area. These are the same people who are aware that they will ultimately pay for it. Over 400 people attended the rally at Isles Yacht Club. Of the 850 people attending the city’s workshop approximately 750 people support the project. 
Your decision is clear. On Wednesday morning, you must vote to go ahead with the permitting process to determine the ultimate cost and feasibility followed by a vote of the affected property owners to pay for the construction.
Thank you for considering the canal. It is in the best interests of the city to continue the project to bring it to fruition.”
Dean Bloemke, Resident

A Second Response:
What an inopportune time for the Sun and the County to wade in with misinformation and outright lies.

The article in the Sun quoted a BSI resident who claimed ‘the cut’ would add 2,800 boats to the traffic on Alligator Creek. Nonsense.  There aren’t nearly that many boats in the Bird Section.   Small craft are already using the little tidal creek (Poacher’s Pass) for access.  I’ve been using it for sixteen years.  I have never seen congestion on Alligator Creek.  Occasionally there are boats illegally anchored in the channel.

They quoted another fellow claiming we’ll be sending over polluted and stagnant water.  We have always been connected by Poacher’s Pass.  The diurnal tides flow twice a day with no detrimental effect.  The water is neither polluted or stagnant.

Is anyone on the Committee planning to speak?  Seems that it would make sense to have someone who really knows what’s going on clarifying the issue. Should the Sun cover the meeting, with a request for fair and unbiased reporting?”

“I live in the northern part of PGI, will this lower my property value?”

John Bockin ABR, CRS (past president of PG, PC, NP Board of Realtors): This will help the entire community as a whole. The [property] values may become more standardized but I certainly do not believe lower in the northern section. Yes, the cut will help the growing population lessen the traffic on the rim to Ponce and become the wonderful boating community that PGI was meant to be. The founders of PGI did many wonderful things when developing. This is one item that was overlooked. I believe the realtor community would strongly encourage the cut-through to happen.