On Tuesday, March 13, voters will decide who should represent the city for the Ward 1 and Ward 3 council seats. On Monday night, residents and supporters packed the Catherine Hickman Theater in Gulfport for the annual "Meet the Candidates" Forum moderated by the League of Women Voters.
Gulfport Patch put together responses from each candidate about Clam Bayou, allowing live-aboards at the Gulfport Municipal Marina and adding a mooring field in Boca Ciega Bay.
Clam Bayou, Liveaboards, Mooring Field
"I'm in favor of all of them. Clam Bayou, I believe that the work that's finishing by swmd is not sufficient. We need to get rid of the build up of toxic sediments that have come in there from our neighbors that are north of us. The 24 boat mooring field to sail boats, and situated away from our swimming area downtown, I think it's a wonderful way to bring boaters into our restaurants but also keep the area for swimming. In terms of the Marina, I support the Harbormaster's suggestion to have at least 20 slips that are for qualified boats, in terms of having Coast Guard inspections."
"We're not totally in control as far as the Clam Bayou is concerned. We're waiting SWFWMD's project to be completed. We expect that to be completed in April of this year. Then we can meet with SWFWMD officials and establish some ongoing parameters to see and control, to see how the cleanup has gone. The mooring field, I'm in favor of the mooring field. We have passed a limited mooring field of 25 buoys. We have money in the budget that we set aside for that. Hopefully we'll get to that sometime this year. It is for non-powered boats and it will keep the derelict vessels out of the large area outside of our pier. The live-aboards, we're looking at that right now. I'm initially in favor of the liveaboards."
"Clam Bayou, I am not an environmental scientist so I won't pretend to know better than those that are. The Southwest Florida Water Management District has a big project going on in there and I think we should wait and see the results of that. I think the only way to cleanup Clam Bayou is to get everybody to move out of South Pinellas County, which isn't gonna happen. I'm certainly not in favor of dredging Clam Bayou, I think we should see how the efforts of the recent project take effect.
Mooring field, I'm against it. I wanna know why we're spending money on a mooring field when we can't afford our police services. If a private vendor wants to come up or a private company wants to come up and give us money for a mooring field then I think we should look at it. When we can't pay for our dispatch, I don't think we should be spending money on another place to park a boat.
Liveaboards, great idea. I'm glad to see the city council and the Mayor brought this up. It's finally good to hear these folks talk about something that can generate revenue for the city. I'm in favor of live-aboards. I think it adds additional security to the Marina and I know for a fact that we've lost a lot of business at the Marina because of the limitations on our length of stay."
"Clam Bayou is not the runoff from Twin Brooks Golf Course and St. Petersburg, some of it is. The real problem with Clam Bayou is when I was a kid it was the garbage dump. There's refrigerators, there's garbage, there's everything that a landfill takes today and even more toxins back then that is buried out there. It was also a gun range. There's more lead out there, buried in that place then you can imagine. It's gonna take four years for SWFWMD to come back and take a look at it. Maybe they don't realize what is out there and what's buried. I say, let it sit four years, come in and then take a look at it.
The mooring field, I'm only for it if the Marina is full and the Marina's making money. Otherwise don't spend any money unless it makes you money.
Liveaboards, I'm all for it. In fact, years ago people did live aboard."