Two important issues involving shifting sands came before the Marco Island City Council this week.

One was a resolution approving the dredging and renourishment of sand around a T-groin that had serious scouring around its base on Hideaway Beach.

The second project was related to the impact that the Hideaway work might have on the narrowing of the mouth of Collier Creek, which the city and county have declared a top priority.

In October 2014 the Sun Times reported on the narrowing of that important waterway and the affect it could have to one third of the boating traffic on Marco Island. Both the county and city boards have moved quickly to address the issue and in late December 2014, Coastal Engineering was engaged by the county to review the situation.

As part of the renourishment of Hideaway Beach, the erosion around the base of the far northern T-groin was discovered late last year and Coastal Engineering recommended the replacement of approximately 1,800 cubic yards of sand from a dredging project near Sand Dollar Island.

This raised concerns with the county staff recently due to the fact they are preparing to do a temporary dredge of the mouth of Collier Creek. This would allow further study and evaluation of what could be done as a permanent solution for the issues on that waterway.

Coastal Zone Manager Gary McAlpin appeared before the city council to voice his concerns about the possible effects of this replacement of sand at the T-groin area. That final fix for Collier Creek could be almost 18 months in the planning stages before a final decision is made.

“We know the sand is migrating from local beaches and it will no doubt end up in this area,” said McAlpin.

Mike Popov, vice president of Coastal Planning and Engineering, the same firm working on both the Hideaway Beach Project and initially with the county on the Collier Creek issue, advised council that the T-groin issue was a serious one and the replacement of sand in the scouring holes around it was important.

“Another major storm event could have a major negative effect on that structure and cause more problems,” said Popov.

Council chairman Bob Brown voiced his concern about the conflict between the two projects.

“I just didn’t want to see us jeopardize anything to do with the Collier Creek Project,” said Brown after the meeting.

Councilman Joe Batte also voted against the motion.

“To ignore the concerns of the county would be counterproductive,” said Batte.

Both Brown and Batte would vote in the negative and council members Larry Honig, Victor Rios, Larry Sacher, Amadeo Petricca and Ken Honecker voted to award the contract and proceed with the Hideaway Beach Project.

Hideaway Beach has a special taxing district to deal with beach renourishment issues and no city tax dollars are expended on the work being done.

In other action, a number of other items were quickly approved during the remainder of the meeting, including the purchase of new 800 mhz radios for the fire department, executing contracts for water/wastewater, contracts approved a minor sidewalk closure issue for the construction work being done at the Marriott, granted a deviation of color for children’s’ playground equipment for St. Marks Church and extending Sacher’s term on the County Tourist Development Council until the end of October.

Next council meeting

The next meeting of the city council will be on Monday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers, on the city campus at 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

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