Hurricane Ian forced the Gulf to take a big gulp out of Tom Podlesney’s yard.
The water pushed through his Bonita Beachfront backyard, leaving a mess when it left.
The water reached 3 to 4 feet high in the backyard.
“Just my luck, I got the river running through it,” Podlesney said. “That’s the risk you take living on the beach, we’re all big boys who live here, and that’s something you deal with. But what we’re asking for is just get us back to some level of normalcy.”
For Podlesney, normalcy doesn’t come from his empty pool, his missing pavers or walls defined by frames.
But he knows sand would help protect those assets.
“All we’re asking for is the sand to be put at the edge of our lots, we will pay for moving the sand,” Podlesney said.
He and a handful of neighbors feel like they’ve been stiffed by Lee County.
“All of it seems to be going to the north end of the island, and none of it is coming back to the homeowners,” he said.
A Lee County spokesperson told WINK News the sand is first going to supplement the Bonita Beach berms, but it will go north and south along the island, through access points 1 through 10 and Bonita Beach Park.
That’s where the big pile is now.
But for, Podlesney, that pile is only getting smaller. He fears the county will run out of sand before they fill his dip.
“The sand, unfortunately, seems to be completely depleted.”
Podlesney said he feels like the condos are receiving sand but not individual homeowners on the shore.
“The most frustrating is how, at certain times, we’re told this is going to be done, and then it doesn’t come through,” he said.
Podlesney said at the end of October, he met some people sifting sand at the north end of the beach.
“They assured me they were going to start from the North End and the south end and come to the middle and take care of all the homeowners,” he said.
But that didn’t happen.
“All we’re asking for is the sand to be put at the edge of our lots, we will pay for moving the sand,” he said.