SANIBEL ISLAND, FLA — Our beaches are a big part of living here in Southwest Florida and many of you want to know when you can get back to them post-Hurricane Ian.
Well, now at least two beaches on Sanibel Island will open within a week.
"We are on day 125 I’ve counted every morning and when I look at every day I look at the progress we’ve made it’s just absolutely incredible," says City of Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith.
Everything about the process is incredible from the rebuilding of the Sanibel Causeway to the siphoning of our beaches here on Sanibel to try to get things back up and running as much as possible.
Mayor Holly Smith says it's taken time and she's extremely optimistic at least two beaches here will be opening within a week... Tarpon Bay Beach and Blind Pass Beach.
"The eastern beaches had the most significant impact. So lighthouse in going up that way they need to get a lot of that major debris out of the way and they’ve gone through with additional sifting and we’re finding a lot of smaller debris so when those beaches are open we want to make sure that people are always still very cautious," says Mayor Smith.
Cautious because there could still be hazards around. There are also still concerns about red tide.
"We had a flyover, myself a national resource Director on Friday we could actually see where the red tide impacts were all along our coast line. Just want to be observant of what’s going on listen, to those alerts and also if you’re out on the beach and you start to feel that tickling or some thing then know that might not be the best time," explains Mayor Smith.
And what will the area look like once open?
"I think that it’s going to be a bit different in the sense that the city of Sanibel has never allowed any sort of mechanical means to get on the beach to rake so that was a big decision for all of us but when you have a catastrophic event like we did we knew that this was going to be an opportunity to clean it right. You’re going to see tracks that you never saw before. Working to make it safe to get to our beaches when you look back all along the beach line is our condos and you’re going to look back and see the significant damage the condominium associations have suffered and I want to make sure that people are really respectful when they go to a beach."
Mayor Smith also says she encourages you to support as many businesses as you can as many of the business owners are residents here on the island that are trying to feed their families and keep employees working.