Is the Chiquita Lock in Cape Coral getting removed?

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

The state just reached a decision on the Chiquita Lock in Cape Coral, and paperwork shows the State Department of Environmental Protection plans to approve the locks removal.

The city has been trying to get rid of the lock because of all the traffic on the water.

Boaters easily passed through the Chiquita Lock on President’s Day, surprising Terry and LaNae Whidman. They know how lousy boat traffic can get there. 

“One day, we were coming out, and it was during peak season, and we waited an hour in line to get through,” LaNae said.

“It’s got its trying times. During busy times you have to wait, idle,” Terry said. 

And hope the wind doesn’t blow your boat into the trees, which can be challenging for new boaters, especially when they go sideways. 

“As they were moving in, the wind was blowing them in. And you can see you can tell they did nothing know how to react. So we had a long pole they had to drop theirs in the water. And we got them twisted around,” Terry said.

Cape Coral has wanted to remove the Chiquita Lock for years, and the city might finally get what they want. Saturday, the DEP issued a final decision on the Capes’s latest request. However, the problem is that nobody can read it yet. 

Boat in Chiquita Lock. CREDIT: WINK News

But WINK News has a clue of what it might say based on a draft notice the DEP filed on Friday. That draft says Cape Coral can remove the lock, but that isn’t what Randy Carpio wants to hear. 

“We’ve been out here fishing, and we’ve seen people crash straight into the docks. The side of the docks because they come in intoxicated or young people who just don’t know how to act or out-of-towners who rented a boat and don’t know how to act,” Carpio said.

If the city does get the final permit, the draft notice says it must submit a plan to maintain vegetation and advise all construction workers there are civil and criminal penalties for harming or killing manatees.

If for some reason the DEP denies the permit at the last minute, the Chiquita Lock will remain. 

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.