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Candidates for Fort Myers Mayor discuss the future of yacht basin

yacht basin
Posted at 4:30 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 20:14:03-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The race for Fort Myers Mayor looked to be going straight through the yacht basin as we approach the general election on November 8.

On Friday, it had been almost one month since residents were kicked out of their waterside homes at the Fort Myers Yacht Basin.

“We already have a homeless problem,” said David Ruffin.

Ruffin, who is running for mayor said he disagrees with the decision to kick residents out.

"We address it by putting these people in housing until we can move forward with a plan to fix the Fort Myers Yacht Basin,” said Ruffin.

Current Mayor Kevin Anderson who is looking to be re-elected spoke with me about his opponent's ideas.

“We don't have the resources to provide housing thats where FEMA steps in, thats why it's important to know how government works,” said Anderson.

On Thursday, Ruffin said if elected, he would bring in temporary trailers for those displaced.

“ If we have to bring in trailers to temporarily house them, the city of Fort Myers has vacant property and land that we can put those trailers on,” said Ruffin.

Mayor Anderson said that is not the case.

“Well first of all the City of Fort Myers does not have tons of vacant property. We are discussing Monday night it should be back on the agenda I believe amending the ordinance about having campers in the city that would allow people to have campers,” said Anderson.

Since residents got word that the yacht basin was closing, residents have said all they want to do is return to their homes on the water.

Christian Siwek, whose business Hinckley Yacht Services said returning to their boats could be a real possibility, saying his business works with insurance companies to determine whether boats can be salvaged or not at the yacht basin.

Siwek said a lot of the boats they have seen since Hurricane Ian, have been salvageable.

“This hurricane, I have found more boats being salvaged and more boats being saved as far as the insurance companies,” said Siwek.

On Thursday, a timeline for when yacht basin residents will be welcomed back is still unknown.

“ It hurts me to hear they are telling them they got to leave and it's not right at all,” said Ruffin.

“A strong leader doesn't just give in to the whims of the public or just because the public wants something that is not good for the city or is not safe, you don't give in,” said Anderson.