Commission again refuses to join regional Indian River Lagoon Council
Indian River County Commissioners Wesley Davis, Peter O’Bryan, and Bob Solari yesterday voted to continue pursuing from the Army Corps of Engineers a permit to build the controversial Oslo Boat Ramp upgrades. Commissioners Joe Flescher and Tim Zorc opposed continuing to seek a permit for the project.
Bowing to public pressure, the Commission last October 21 agreed to put the project off for three to five years. O’Bryan said yesterday opponents of the the project, which some fear will damage fragile seagrass beds, are wrongly assuming the Oslo boat ramp “upgrades” are dead. The Commission’s plans for the Oslo boat ramp, he said, have simply been “tabled or delayed.”
By a vote of 4-1, the Commission also re-affirmed its earlier decision to not join Brevard, Saint Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach Counties in a new regional effort to address the Lagoon crisis. The new Indian River Lagoon Council also includes participation from three state agencies – the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Saint John’s and South Florida Water Management Districts. Together, the three state agencies are contributing $1.25 million of some $2 million in start up money for the new Lagoon Council.
Commissioner Bob Solari first raised concerns that, with three state agencies having voting membership, the Lagoon Council’s structure is flawed. Solari also said he has evidence Lagoon Council staff “lied.” He said that driving home from a recent Lagoon Council meeting – at which he voted not to approve the group’s formation – he thought he would have to, “pull my car over and puke.”
Leaders in Fellsmere, Sebastian and Vero Beach are working on a plan to fill the void left by the Indian River County Commission on the Lagoon Council.