DEP moves towards a hearing following Chiquita Lock petition

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Right now, boaters and homeowners are going back and forth on whether the Chiquita Lock should be removed.

The Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing a petition which argues that Cape Coral needs the lock to protect waterways and homes nearby.

“That is storm water management is what it is. So the water stays behind the lock, it goes through the filtering mangroves as natural and get some cleaning affect,” Yolanda Olsen said.

Olsen says she is fighting to keep Chiquita Lock at Cape Harbour because it’s a natural filter and barrier.

“Summer I saw blue-green algae on the river side of the lock and there’s no algae reported on the other side of the lock,” she said.

She and others joined the petitioners for a hearing after the DEP determined it was safe to remove the lock last month.

The City of Cape Coral fought to remove the lock for years, citing boater safety and traffic backups. The city originally installed the lock in the 80s to treat storm water run-off.

The DEP says the Cape’s new water quality improvement mitigate that need.

MORE: Cape Coral gets the green light to remove the Chiquita Lock

Olsen and petitioners argue that not enough research went into the findings.

“The blue-green algae barrier has not been addressed,” Olsen said. “It came up far after the original application was made and no one is dealing with it. Second the shoaling. Ceitus lock, we saw shoaling and silt which is going to create a boaters havoc in a shallow canal. Third the tidal influence has not been thoroughly researched.”

Many others wrote to the DEP asking to keep the Chiquita Lock where it is. Several even suggested a new high-speed lock option as a compromise.

The DEP determined the petition was enough and it will move to a hearing.

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