Submitted by: Pete Winterberger
By far, the Beach Project is the most complex, costly and risky project ever attempted by Pelican Landing’s Management. The problem we have had from the inception of the project is the lack of knowhow as to developing and evaluating alternatives, selecting a course of action and implementing the selected plan. Frankly, management of this project is far above the pay grade of any Board Member, Staff Member or Resident of the Community. With that in mind, the Board was right to hire outside consultants and engineering companies to get us to where we are today….. It is now decision time.
The contributers to this Blog have done an accurate job outlining the Pros and Cons of moving ahead with the project. I wonder who will make the final critical decision to proceed ahead or not, will it be the PLCA Board only, or will there be a community wide resident vote? A natural conflict of interest exist among the entities directly involved with this project. A recommendation by them not to proceed at this point would be a financial loss to these entities. This conflict does not make them “bad eggs” as they have done all that was expected of them up to this point. In my opinion, The decision to proceed can not be up to the engineering company, consultants, Lawyers, or anyone with personal capital involved; after all, that is how they make a living or avoid conflict. At this point, any recommendation be these entities to proceed should be discounted based on conflict of interest.
Hopefully, the Board Of Directors will soon recognize the need to inform all the Members of PLCA of the status of this project and have a full discussion as to the risks and rewards of moving forward at this point. Personally, considering the potential long term financial liability that would be the responsibility of the residents, I would suggest a community wide vote on the approval to proceed with the current plan.
My belief is, even if the current plan is turned down, there are still alternatives. The following is a letter sent to President John Duder that outlined an alternative course of action that I believe is viable and cost effective for the Community with minimum risk.
Over the years I have served on numerous committees. I was the one who initiated the idea to investigate methods to save the beach. As you point out, I spent many hours working on the beach alternative project. At the time, I concurred that taking the initial steps to save the beach was a good idea.
At this point, it has become clear that beach re-nourishment comes at great costs and uncertainty. The prospect of building a beach for public use creates too much liability for the community and takes away from property values as we give up our “private beach.” Many residents are becoming aware of the long term liabilities that the State may place on the PLCA due to “strings attached” by the DEP in the permitting process. Paying to build a public beach is not why most residents moved here.
Our goal has not changed. Stated simply, provide the best exclusive beach experience for PLCA Members and Guest, Hyatt Guest and the Time Share owners.
Ask yourself why is re-nourishment neccessary. I believe one of the primary reasons is to save the two pavilions. I ask; if the two pavilions never existed, would we be pursuing this project or would we be reorganizing the beach park to accommodate the shifting sands.
By now, the community has accumulated a substantial fund to be used for the project. I propose we consider the following:
Conduct a feasibility study to redesign the beach park.
1. Remove the two pavilions and replace them with various size Tiki huts (with an emphasis on portability) similar to what is used at many ocean front resorts. Much of the material from the demolition of the buildings could be used to build the various size huts. A hurricane resistant hut cost about $16 to $19 per sq. foot. They can be built in unlimited configurations.
2. Build recreational facilities like volley ball courts, horse shoes, bocci, card tables, children huts, grill and picnic huts.
3. Costs would go down substantially. No fire suppression systems to maintain, no elaborate decking systems to replace. no walls to paint.
4. Utilize the current over built septic systems for rest rooms for PLCA members only.
The pros for this concept are:
We avoid the permit process totally.
We avoid the future liability of all the strings the DEP will attach to the permitting process.
We avoid dealing with the public.
We provide a better beach experience for all involved, including the Hyatt.
We take advantage of money we already have.
We don’t risk spending millions on sand and having it washed away by a storm.
We don’t have to look at hard groins full of barnacles.
We retain our exclusive beach which was a representation made to all our residents.
We retain our accretion rights.
We save substantially on maintenance costs.
We create a park more in line with the echo nature of the original intended use.
The cons are:
We loose two buildings that are hardly ever used.
As you can imagine, there is a lot to discuss here, which is why I suggested a meeting with you to see if there is any merit to the concepts.
Thanks to all those that have taken the time to set up this Blog, I think the PLCA Management and all residents should take full advantage of this opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions. I would suggest that a link to this blog site be included in the PLCA Lifestyle News Letter.