Contrary to what may appear to you, as an outsider, the townspeople of Fort Myers Beach are far from being against growth. Where flowers grow, weeds grow and so does fungus grow. Figuratively speaking, the town is our garden and we are selective. The town is our garden and we are protective.
Believe it or not, our retired townsfolk have not retired their mental capabilities; our “mom and pop store” owners are not senile; and, our residents desiring seclusion from big city atmosphere are not social misfits seeking reclusion.
In response to your requests for public input, and in reply to your proliferation of inducements to accept your grand project for our town, I have gathered the following points of concern for consideration.
View Corridors versus Tunnels: Your proposed entire downtown complex is a maze of walled-in areas. Your so-called “view corridors” to the beach, located between hotels, are still only slightly (if anything) more than boxed in tunnels. Tunnels without any meaningful peripheral vision or panoramic view available until we end up standing on your cement slabs, possibly then with a sickness in the pit of our stomachs over what has been lost forever.
Realistically, all the new modifications and adjustments you’ve made to your project in an effort to placate rising objections are comparable to putting lipstick on a pig when you should be using vanishing cream.
Competitive Damage to Existing Businesses: The highly competitive power of your franchised boutiques, eateries, lounges and entertainment will damage and/or literally bring death to some of our current local businesses offering similar amenities. No amount of window-shopping with a trickle of purchasing by your wandering resort guests will ever replace the lost profits.
Guest Lodging and Lost Tourism: Our current local guest lodging establishments will be severely financially hurt by the magnitude of your resorts and other changes you propose. These local establishments have successfully induced tourists to return year after year to vacation in a small-town island community environment. When this environment is destroyed and such vacation opportunities and dreams cease to exist, the once loyal tourists will never return.
Your CPS Will Not Prevent Flooding: When the seawater level rises due to hurricanes and heavy storms, flooding occurs throughout the island from the island’s series of canal waterways connected to the back bay. Your proposed Coastal Protection System is not a protection from flooding. It will only provide your Grand Resorts buildings with protection, (which are not subjected to rising canal waters).
Your CPS Destroys Natural Nourishment: Your Coastal Protection Scheme will actually prevent nature from re-nourishing our beach with the sugar-fine sand that makes up our beach and is so enjoyable and valuable to our beach goers. I’m sure your crew of engineers has told you this. But, just in case you have missed something, I will try to explain it in layman’s terms.
Our current beachfront is relatively level with a gradual slope landward. As gulf waves form, fine sand particles from the ocean floor are picked up and suspended in the wave. They remain suspended as long as the moving body of water maintains its landward momentum.
When the momentum comes to a stop, gravitation takes over and causes the particles of sand to be deposited on the beach before the wave has had time to completely recede. However, during tides if those waves come in contact with a wedge or incline (your CPS), the forward direction of the water flow is rapidly reversed, churning takes place, and the increased suspended sand particles are carried back to sea.
Without natural re-nourishment, your proposed plans of continuous beach restoration will definitely be required even though they are flawed and will slurp up tax revenues. Government restrictions on mining the sea (for sand) will come into play and you will undoubtedly need to acquire sand from inland sources. Inland sand is course, sharp and devoid of the smooth fine sand. Again, I am sure that your staff has informed you of these results and problems.
Who Should Care: Why should you bother to care, Mr. Torgerson, about all these concerns as long as your profit goals are met? Depending upon your priorities, you possibly shouldn’t bother to be the one to care. After all, it’s now the responsibility of the whole town to care.
Fort Myers Beach