Letter: Be Proactive In Fixing Drainage

I totally agree with the Town-Crier’s opinion “Isaac’s Water Brings Anger And Blame, But We Need Solutions” (Aug. 31). Residents’ ire at the Indian Trail Improvement District to me is quite justified.

While Royal Palm Beach, Wellington and Loxahatchee Groves were spontaneous (they were out of the starting block like Usain Bolt), I regret to say that here in The Acreage, the response was sluggish, to say the least. For many years, Indian Trail did a good job, but lately this has not been the case. Landscaping since privatization has gone downhill. Canals are not being properly maintained, road construction and maintenance is an insult to the engineering profession. Letters and e-mails to the board members from many residents do not generate a response.

When a disaster such as Tropical Storm Isaac strikes, and streets, easements and canals are flooded, the Indian Trail board and its workers need to be more visible. Acreage residents are well aware of the board’s limitations obtaining permits, lack of funds, etc., but had the board and its workers been more visible from the start, and interacted more with the residents, much of the residents’ anger and frustration could have been avoided.

Shame on all those major tow truck companies that refused to enter The Acreage, with Kauff’s being the exception. Kudos to them, fire-rescue, USPS, FedEx, UPS and last but by no means least, good neighbors for the services they provided. It is time for all the western communities residents to realize just how vulnerable we all are to flooding. Don’t just lobby County Commissioner Jess Santamaria. For all the great work he is doing on the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners, he has just one vote and more often than not is seen as the lone ranger on the commission when it comes to our interests. So let us focus on Tallahassee and Washington, state representatives and senators, congressmen and anyone who will listen to us.

Let us not blame just Indian Trail, the South Florida Water Management District, the city and the county. Never underestimate the power of the people. If we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. There are many Acreage residents who own the adjacent property to theirs. These are empty lots Indian Trail could work closely with the owners and the county to see how many retention ponds could be built on these properties (even if this means a slight increase in our taxes). Without resorting to eminent domain, canals and easements could be widened/deepened. Also, let’s not forget strategic pipelines.

These are small steps in the right direction. It’s quite easy to have hindsight after an event like Tropical Storm Isaac. We all know that the situation in The Acreage could have been handled in a better manner. We in the western communities were caught napping. Isaac was our wakeup call. We are all in this together, and we must be well-prepared next time. A coordinated effort is needed by all. Working together, we must all be proactive, not reactive.

Karl Witter
The Acreage