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Cape Coral residents concerned over pipeline project

Posted at 11:12 PM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 05:24:46-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — There is continued controversy in Cape Coral over a proposed pipeline project.

Leaders in the city of Cape Coral and Fort Myers agreed on the project, but some community members aren't so sure.

“Put the pipe in the canal, period. Is that a simple thing? Yes it is," says 94-year-old Bill Bojan, when describing a fix to Caloosahatchee Connect - a proposed pipeline that would bring reclaimed water from Fort Myers into Cape Coral during the dry season.

That pipeline will connect to the Everest Water Reclamation Facility in Cape Coral.

From there, it'll move to a river entry point at Horton Park, moving under the Caloosahatchee River and connecting with the reclaimed water main in Fort Myers.

Fort Myers City Council member Fred Burson says it's a win for both cities.

“It’s a benefit for the city of Fort Myers as it generates revenue for us, it’s a benefit to the Cape because they won’t have to draw down their freshwater canals and continue their irrigation here in the dry season," says the Ward 5 council member.

But back in the Cape, people like Bill feel differently. A resident of 22 years, he spends much of his free time gardening.

“That’s one of my hobbies - agriculture.”

That hobby led him to plant four palm trees in his front yard, and they're now set to be removed once construction on the pipeline starts.

“They’re going to destroy everything. They’re going to dig all of this up," says Bill.

With the pipeline set to go through the right of way in front of his home, Bill also has concerns about the property value of his home.

“When they dig the pavers out, are they going to match the same pavers? It’s not going to match. So is this going to impact the value of your house? Absolutely,” he says.

The City of Cape Coral says that "all other options were considered".

And with no other option for residents, the city says if Cape residents have anything in that right of way - like a mailbox - you should move them - if not the contractor will remove them and not replace it.

But that answer just isn't good enough for Bill.

“This will be an eyesore. It’ll be an eyesore forever," he says.