BB pier team member calls dock holdup ‘ludicrous’

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Small boats are tied Feb. 8 at the public dock on the waterfront near the Historic Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach. Boaters are relying on the small dock while the city awaits installation of a new floating dock at the pier. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

“This is ludicrous,” John Horne, owner of Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the Historic Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach, said Feb. 7 regarding the delayed installation of a new day dock at the pier.

The new floating dock was approved by the Bradenton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency in March 2017.

After receiving a deposit in August 2017, representatives from the contractor, Technomarine, said they could begin work in September 2017.

However, Technomarine representatives soon after said a busy hurricane season delayed progress.

In an Oct. 2, 2017 email to Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale, who chairs the pier team, Technomarine representative Ben Talbert wrote, “The dock is in production and will ship in a few weeks.”

“A few weeks” came and went.

According to a December 2017 schedule from Technomarine, the dock installation was to be this month.

However, at a Feb. 7 pier team meeting, Horne pointed out the contractor said they would “mobilize” at the pier Jan. 29 and delivery would be Feb. 5.

“Didn’t this send up any red flags to someone?” Horne asked Speciale.

As another tourist season ramps up, business owners who rely on the dock — including Horne and some tour operators — are growing frustrated.

Sherman Baldwin, owner of Paradise Boat Tours, which operates on the pier, used the dock for his pontoon boat tours. His plan to launch a 149-passenger water taxi, loading and unloading passengers at the new dock, awaits the docking facility.

“We are only waiting on this dock,” he said.

Currently, Baldwin is launching tours from a small public dock on the south side of the pier.

“The pier is the backbone of everything here, and the dock was meant to enhance it,” Speciale said. “It’s frustrating to us … it should have been done already.”

According to Speciale, Technomarine was to provide a new schedule Feb. 9, but the city had no such notice and Technomarine has not explained its failure to deliver.

Technomarine did not respond to calls Feb. 9 from The Islander.

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