‘Quite an attraction’: Abandoned camper in Port Charlotte canal an eyesore for neighbors

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Abandoned camper in Port Charlotte canal. (Credit: WINK News)

A Port Charlotte canal has had an abandoned camper sitting in it since Hurricane Ian, and neighbors want it gone.

Neighbors say the camper is an eyesore and an environmental hazard. They say nothing has been done to get rid of the camper. It’s been in the canal for 155 days.

The camper doesn’t have tires anymore, but it does have the ability to make the neighborhood a tourist attraction.

Abandoned camper in Port Charlotte canal. (Credit: WINK News)

The Port Charlotte neighborhood is not an amusement park, but despite that, “It’s quite an attraction,” said Kenny Vermillioa, who wants the camper removed. “Every time you turn around, there’s somebody over there in it.”

You read that right, he said in it.

“I think it got blown over into the water. And because the water was so high had drifted over that way,” said Vermillioa.

When the hurricane hit, the camper was sitting in a nearby yard. Neighbors say the well over 100 miles an hour wind gusts lifted the camper, dropped it into the canal, and washed ashore on the other side.

Now, what was left behind inside the camper is being snatched up. “Kids in the neighborhood are going in it and playing in it. And I mean, just every time you turn around, there’s somebody over there,” said Vermillioa. “I’ve seen people come here, and they’ve taken the tires off of it. They’ve taken… It had like a jack.”

It is a tempting free-for-all, even for Vermillioa. “I have thought about taking a couple of things.”

While it is not a good idea to take things from the camper, Vermillioa wants the camper as a whole taken away. “I mean, there’s no way to get that thing out here. There’s power lines right there. So you really can’t lift it up with a crane and go over the powerlines. They’re gonna have to drag it through somebody’s yard, and either way they go, they’re gonna take down somebody’s fence and everything.”

If Shawn Kolanda could pick the camper up with his own two hands, he would.

“Get it out of there,’ said Kolanda. “It’s killing the fish.”

Kolanda is absolutely determined to get this camper removed from the canal. “I’ve contacted the county, several different agencies within Charlotte County that commissioners, no one has ever responded. I’ve contacted fish and wildlife, the state environmental protection agency.”

Who’s responsible for getting it out of here? Neighbor Vermilloa offered his assumption. “There was no insurance on it, I don’t believe, because it was paid for. And so that’s probably why it’s sitting there like that.”

The only thing that is not an assumption is the environmental impact this thing has had in the nearly six months it has sat here in the water.

“There was really a weird film that was out here for a long time, and it went away. And so, and I don’t know if that came from their septic system in that thing,” said Vermilloa.

WINK News reached out to Charlotte County to try to get some guidance on when the camper might be removed but got nothing.

A neighbor said they recently saw a crew that looked like they worked with the county surveying this camper and possibility scheming up a way to get it out.

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