CAPE CORAL, Fla.- In a unanimous vote Monday night, the Cape Coral City Council approved the plan to move ahead with the removal of the Chiquita Lock. Dozens of people gathered at the City Council meeting to show support for removing the lock. Since the early 1980s, the lock has been the gateway for boat traffic in and out of Cape Harbour, helping regulate water quality and storm water levels.
But, it can also be a pain for boaters waiting to get through. “Usually it’s on a weekend evenings when everybody’s coming home at the same time, and usually end up waiting an hour, hour and a half sometimes,” said boater Steve Crane. The city is now closer than ever to getting rid of the lock once and for all. City Councilman John Carisoscia says over the years, the need for it has all but disappeared. “It’s not necessary anymore,” said Carisocia. “We’re very confident the FDEP will give us the green light to remove it.”
Cape harbormaster Frank Muto tells WINK News getting rid of the lock would be a big mistake. He says it would open up the marina to tidal flow, and if water levels dip too low, larger boats could be at risk.“If we get tidal flow, what we end up with is all our big boats sitting on the bottom getting damaged,” said Muto. “We would be out of business as a marina here in no time.” “I explicitly, emphatically asked that question of our engineers, because I too have heard the rumor about boats laying on their side, I’m told it’s not true,” said Carioscia.
An engineering firm will be brought in to help prepare the proposal for removal that must be submitted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corp of Engineers by March 2016.