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City of Fort Myers unsure when the yacht basin will reopen

yacht basin
Posted at 6:04 PM, Oct 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-20 21:05:16-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — On Thursday, more than three weeks after Hurricane Ian, Fort Myers city leaders admit they do not know an exact timeline for when people who live on boats will be able to return home.

That answer comes after Fox 4's Colton Chavez spent days pushing for answers to learn what the yacht basin's path to recovery will look like.

On Thursday, there were still lingering concerns from longtime yacht basin residents like Libby Walker.

“A lot of people lost their boats, and a lot of people have some major repairs to do,” said Walker.

Walker said the majority of her neighbors should be able to return right now.

“More than half of the boats and half the docks are secure just as they were on September 27,” said Walker.

City of Fort Myers spokesperson, Liz Bello-Matthews disagreed.

“The residents that are thinking this looks like it's fine because aesthetically it looks like its usable but this other area looks like it’s not because aesthetically looks like its not usable, that is not the indicator,” said Bello-Matthews.

On Thursday, Bello-Matthews told me the indicators come from a final evaluation being done, but not yet completed by city staff and third parties.

“So until that complete and detailed assessment is finalized, we cannot have anyone enter,” said Bello-Matthews.

A timeline for when people can return was unknown.

“I don't know if a timeline is going to be a month, timeline going to be three months,” said Bello-Matthews.

At the basin, Libby Walker told me residents feel like they are being left in the dark, including information they need for removing damaged boats and why they feel the city will not restore power.

“We don't have electricity running to the yacht basin right now because we can not. it is not considered safe to live in,” said Bello- Matthews.

The entire process Bello- Matthews told me will take time and patience, which right now is defined by the city as,

“This is something that is not going to happen in one week, or in two weeks and we will just be able to flip a switch and get the yacht basin up and running,” said Bello-Matthews.

Although, the most common question residents are asking me is, does the city plan to return residents to the yacht basin?

"Yes, yes absolutely,” said Bello-Matthews.

Bello-Matthews said residents should be on the lookout for an email with the two companies that can help them remove sunken boats.