A Mooring Field Ordinance Seems to be a Virtual Certainty in Cape Coral

mooring field meetingI attended the second of two Bimini Basin Mooring Field information meetings last night in Cape Coral. It was standing room only when I got there.

The consultant firm presented diagrams of the mooring field and thoroughfare dimensions. Two similar design arrangements fit up to 15-18 moorings in that space.

Most attendees agree a mooring field could be beneficial but there are many uncertainties about implementation. The state permitting process could take over a year and will require the City to install a pump-out station and hire a Harbor Master.

Many of the adjacent property owners would like to have controls in place to regulate the boats using the basin. Currently anyone is free to anchor in the basin’s waters.

Why is the water quality so poor?

Understandably, a lot of the talk focused on water quality and waste management issues. After it was pointed out that many bacteria (indicator) levels spiked throughout the Caloosahatchee River within the same time frame in April, the Mayor took some time to respond. City officials could not speak their opinion on the mooring field ordinance due to sunshine state laws. However, they were comfortable discussing water quality issues.

Mayor Joe Coviello said he thought there is more going on than just a few boats that could cause such high readings. He said he asked public works to inspect storm drains in the area, which all checked out okay. He mentioned the age of clay sewers in the area and some other theories of possible pollution sources. At any rate, I was surprised he acknowledged the possibility of wider problems/sources to the group assembled primarily to discuss Bimini Basin.

There was some vague talk of another high bacteria reading farther up on the Rubicon canal from the Basin. Poor water quality is not isolated to Bimini Basin and is a huge and complex problem our local and state officials need to get serious about.

Will boaters and the public lose this valuable water access?

A lot of the recent activity in the basin seems centered around freshly elected councilman John Gunter. He took it upon himself to stake out at the park one evening last month, and described waiting around to witness an enforceable infraction. Eventually he¬†saw a group of boaters drinking in the park after its close at 9pm. They put up “No Trespassing” signs and told CCPD? Marine Patrol? to discourage dinghies from coming ashore at Four Freedoms Park.

As a result, they said they have already run off the most “deplorable” of the live-a-board boaters. I have very mixed feelings about that as a boater and otherwise liberty-loving citizen.

If you’d like to read more on the second mooring field meeting, Chuck Ballaro of the Cape Coral breeze wrote a good recap.