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Residents want canals back on work list
The three canals were pushed back to expedite permitting for 23 other canals.
By CAMILLE C. SPENCER, Times Staff Writer
Published September 6, 2007
PORT RICHEY - City officials had hoped to expedite their first dredging project by dropping three canals that required some additional studies.
But the City Council's decision last month to push those three canals to a later dredging project sparked ire among residents who fear their waterways will never get dredged.
About 30 residents met Tuesday night to organize an effort to keep those three canals in the first permit, even if it means the dredging application process could take longer.
"Basically, they are being cast off the ship and left out to dry," said Mike Latini, a Port Authority Board member who attended the Tuesday meeting. "We have taken this long to get this far. I don't understand why these council members are willing to throw these canals aside so rapidly when they should fight to get them all on the same permit."
The first permit application originally included 26 canals. But the state Department of Environmental Protection wants additional studies on the tidal flow in three long, dead-ending canals. Rather than hold up the entire project, council members decided Aug. 28 to push back those three canals to a later project.
Council member Dale Massad, who attended Tuesday's meeting, said he hopes the city's consulting firm, The LPA Group, can convince DEP that the additional studies aren't necessary.
He also wants to assure residents that none of the canals will be left out.
"The entire thing has been blown out of proportion," Massad said. "These canals are not being put on the back burner. We will not leave a single canal out. We don't need civil war. We need to act like a city and a community."
The Port Richey Port Authority Board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6333 Ridge Road, to discuss the city's dredging project. The board, which advises the City Council on projects, will discuss asking the council to reverse its decision to remove three canals - Canal 6 between Aquila Street and Channel Drive, Canal 11 between Betty and Green streets and Canal 13 between Green Street and Old Post Road - from the first dredging permit application.