Local Resident Tom Dawson's - Letter to the Editor of the Breeze
On March 18, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission announced the state has “passed the mark of one million registered recreational vessels across the state” and here in Lee County, at the end of 2021, there were 50,304 registered recreational vessels.
In the spring of 2020, the city of Cape Coral, under pressure from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, put a notice in the city’s quarterly newsletter “On The Move” titled “Outdated Signage in Local Waterways to Be Removed.” You can read the notice yourself; it can be found on the city’s website on the Community Newsletter page. Some key passages include:
A city employee told the Waterway Advisor Board it can do nothing to remove the illegal speed limit signs in the canals that private residents have on their property. Beyond the article mentioned previously, the city has not taken any substantive measures to inform canal residents and boaters the current rules and regulations. Even the current “Canal Owner’s Manual” which was written in 2009 doesn’t address any boating rules and regulations.
The following are some of the recommendations made to the city’s Waterway Advisory Board
- Repeal city ordinance 10-10 (b) and harmonize the city regulation with one that mirrors F.A.C. 68C-22.005 (d) 5. “Slow Speed (All Year) — including the residential canals of Cape Coral.”
- Add the state’s definition of Slow Speed Minimum Wake to city ordinance 10-10.
- Notify all canal homeowners and boaters what the legal speed limit is and post this information online.
- Notify all canal homeowners the need to take down all of the illegal “Idle Speed No Wake”signs on their property.
- Obtain a permission from the state to establish “Idle Speed No Wake Zones”at boat ramps and gas docks.
Finally, for all boaters new and old in Cape Coral learn all the boating rules and regulations by taking an approved Boating Safety Course and earning your State of Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card. This course covers all of the Federal, and State regulations along with boating basics that Florida boaters need to know. A listing of approved course providers is available at myfwc.com.
One of our NWNA members, Francis Harrison, sent in a question that we didn't have the answer to, so we sent it to Michael Ilczyszyn, City of Cape Coral's Assistant Public Works Director and asked him to comment. We thought you would like to see the correspondence.
First is the member's question and below is the response to the NWNA from Mr. Ilczyszyn. In the correspondence, there is mention of dredging being an agenda item on an upcoming Waterway Advisory Board Meeting. When I see that item on the agenda, I will be asking members to attend the meeting and speak on the importance of dredging.
It becomes more obvious each week that the passageway near the old lock needs to be dredged. Further down the boat passageway near private homes, there is another bad area. It’s indisputable that it needs attention and as the NW grows and there are many more boaters aren’t we heading for a significant problem that will affect us all?
Shouldn’t the city budget for dredging and address this problem? We all enjoy boating and I think we all would agree that it must be addressed in the near future. Perhaps you can give this some thought and plot a course of action that would be successful. This affects many of us and is very, very important.
The bathymetric survey was performed a couple of months ago to determine the depths and volume of material to be removed. City crews are completing a couple of spots in the SE then will be moving to the NW Spreader at Sirenia Park. As far as the Matlacha portion there is no Army Corp permit for this work. One will be submitted in the future. Call me at your convenience to discuss if needed.
As you indicated this will be part of our upcoming presentation to the Water Advisory Board--program operations, permits, planning, funding, restrictions, and projects.
Have a great weekend.
Assistant Public Works Director