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Cape gets dredging permit

By Staff | Jul 30, 2011

The City of Cape Coral has received a 10-year permit to dredge its salt water canals from the US Army Corp of Engineers and is working on a canal dredging master plan, according to city documentation.

The city has also outsourced its dredging operations to Gator Dredging, located in Pinellas Park, FL.

According to bid documentation associated with the city’s request for proposal, Gator can dredge 150,000 cubic yards at $9.91 per cubic yard.

Including mobilization, Gator’s total cost for the project is $1,588,500.

City Councilmember Kevin McGrail praised the permit, saying it was important to protect the city’s greatest asset, its canals.

Creating a master plan, too, was a good way to think about the future needs of the city instead of simply reacting to situations.

“This will be a definitive plan instead of responding to complaints,” McGrail said. “When you take a ‘whack-a-mole’ approach, you never get the job right because you’re constantly fighting fires.”

In 2008, the city spent $1,313,797 on its dredging program, at $10.59 a cubic yard. The next year, 2009, saw those costs increase slightly with the total cost at $1,189,801 and $10.62 per cubic yard. Last year the city spent $484,602 on dredging at $5.16 per cubic yard.

Resident John Barth, a fixture during city council public comment, thinks the city needs to complete its dredging master plan before committing to outsource its dredging operation.

The price submitted by Gator Dredging might not be realistic if replacement costs for dredges themselves weren’t taken into account, he said.

He feels it might be prudent for the city to consider keeping it in house anyway, since city staff has the know-how and capability to rebuild equipment and make the necessary changes to keep the equipment afloat.

“I think you need to have some level of control within the city’s function. I don’t think you can totally farm out this type of thing,” Barth said. “There’s too many variables in the process … you’ll find out real quick whether these guys (Gator Dredging) can live with this kind of price.”

City Councilmember Marty McClain is worried the proposed dredging process as outlined by Gator Dredging doesn’t line up with the scope of the dredging permit.

The permit calls for a lateral grinding process while Gator is proposing a knuckle grinding process, he said.

“We’re not complying with what we proposed within the confines of the permit,” McClain said.

Public records requests for the city’s permit application and the permit itself were not filled by press time.

City Business Manager Mike Ilzyszyn could not be reached for comment.