LEE COUNTY – Hotel guests and condo owners are raising a stink over a stench at the Punta Rassa boat ramp. When people pay hundreds of dollars to stay in the Sanibel Harbor Marriot hotel, the last thing they expect is to smell what can only be described as rotten eggs.
“I saw a group of seven people walking down Punta Rassa Rd. trying to go to the restaurant,” said James Simantel, president of the homeowners association at Punta Rassa Condominium. “They all had their faces covered with handkerchiefs.”
Friday, representatives from the Sanibel Harbor Marriot and Punta Rassa Condominium met with officials from Lee County to talk about solutions.
“It’s an obnoxious smell,” said Jim Walker, general manager of Punta Rassa Condominium. “It has hurt our sales here, it has hurt the health of some of the people here and it’s definitely hurt the businesses around it.”
The problem, they suspect, is that the water in a nearby cove just sits, and as a result, starts to stink. Aside from the putrid smell, the traffic to the boat ramp can get pretty bad too. Marriott and Punta Rassa representatives want to make the mangrove area into extra boat ramp parking. They also want to fill in the cove so the water doesn’t get trapped.
“We contribute over $2 million a year in real estate taxes and almost $1 million in tourist tax. We get nothing from it nor have we ever ask for anything,” Walker said. “Now we are.”
Lee County Parks and Recreation agreed to do a study in the area to determine if the problem can be fixed by filling in that cove. There wasn’t a mention of cost for the study.