The Sarasota-based Boaters’ Coalition announced its official opposition to dredging Big Pass in a Saturday email to the County Commission, widening the mounting resistance to the Army Corps of Engineers project beyond Siesta Key-based groups for the first time.
The Boaters’ Coalition, which comprises members in locations from Clearwater to Marco Island, unanimously passed the measure announcing its opposition to the dredge.
The coalition’s contrarian stance follows a chain of Siesta Key groups that have similarly come out against the Army Corps’ plans based on worries that a shrunken shoal would be less able to insulate Siesta beaches from storm surge during a hurricane or tropical storm.
In a statement to the County Commission, Peter van Roekens, chairman of the Boaters’ Coalition, wrote: “The Boaters’ Coalition opposes this dredge based on navigational concerns that Big Pass will end up in the same condition as every other dredged inlet that does not have protective jetties, namely they become shallow and basically impassible for anything except shallow draft boats without repeated dredging on a regular basis.”
Van Roekens also claimed that the dredge's unintended consequences might include the closing of the Pass to all boat traffic, which would affect operations out of the Sarasota Yacht Club, the Bird Key Yacht Club and Marina Jack.
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