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Date of Issue: June 15, 2006

North Cortez project aiding south

coquina cops
A sharing of fill between North Cortez and South Cortez from a dredge project is under way. Islander Photo: Joe Curley

Adversaries a few months ago, residents of Cortez village and those north of Cortez Road apparently have buried the hatchet with a project that’s helpful to everyone.

It is the dredging of Harbour Landings Estates boat basin and moorage, whose spoil is being donated to help with the Cortez waterfront channel job just to the south.

Involved are some 320 truckloads of “pretty clean sand,” said Joseph Curley of Harbour Landings. It is being stockpiled and trucked across Cortez Road to the FISH Preserve, where it will go into the berm being built to contain the less-than-clean spoil from the channel.

That channel dredging is expected to begin soon, delayed by the need to clean up the awesome layers of trash piled up over the years in the Preserve, said Charles Listowski, executive director of the West Coast Inland Navigation District, which is handling the project. That canal runs along the waterfront from about Bell Fish Co. east to the edge of the Preserve which lines the eastern end of the village.

To the north, Harbour Landings homeowners are paying for their own dredging, said Debbie Lansing, president of the homeowners association.

The Harbour Landings sand would be worth about $60,000 on the current market, and Allen Garner, president of the Florida

Institute for Saltwater Heritage, which owns and maintains the Preserve for public use, said “It is clean and conveniently located and very welcome.”

This is the first dredging since 1983 of the Harbour Landings basin, said Lansing. It covers somewhat less than seven acres. Contractor is Energy Resources Inc.

Over the past year or more FISH, a public service volunteer organization based in Cortez, had been trying to buy the Seafood Shack as a home for the Florida

Maritime Museum, until Harbour Landings residents rose up against the proposal. Too costly and too much traffic, they said through the organization they formed, Concerned Citizens of Cortez Coalition.

They fought hard and skillfully, ultimately prevailing when the Manatee County Commission turned down the FISH proposal.

Curley, a sparkplug of the CCCC, said its working with FISH “demonstrates good community cooperation, that there can be differences but we can work together for the good of the neighborhood.”