Australian pines removed from Sanibel Causeway ahead of other changes

Reporter: Michael Hudak
Published: Updated:

Many possible changes are planned for the Sanibel Causeway.

On Thursday, crews ripped out the Australian pines that provide shade for beachgoers to replace them with native trees. Australian Pines are invasive to Sanibel Island.

Some people who frequent the causeway are upset by the changes, including the lack of shade without the large trees.

The changes to the Sanibel Causeway is an $8.5 million project that includes a possible pay-to-park lot and new bathrooms.

“It makes it a lot harder because then we have to get like, all the chairs and then the towels and then taking the little kids along with all the stuff,” said Delilah, a frequent beachgoer. “It’s just a lot.”

The project is meant to prevent beach erosion.

“I don’t know that people that come on the causeway care about beach sand,” said Sally Robinson, who visits the causeway often.

Robinson said people care about being in the water, enjoying the Gulf, swimming and fishing.

“It has been free all these years,” Robinson said. “So, they’re making it pay? Aren’t we paying enough taxes? Then to have this kind of project? I just really question how many people know about it? I certainly didn’t. And I come here all the time.”

Robinson visits the Sanibel Causeway eight hours a day, four times a week.

The pull for her is the free parking and tons of shelling opportunities.

“This is free access,” Robinson said.

It promotes the opportunity for visitors to have a nice afternoon at the beach, Robinson said.

“I’m really disappointed to hear that,” Robinson said. “I think it has a negative impact for the general populace that likes to enjoy the beach.”

Robinson said she won’t be returning once the changes are made.

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