Letter: SFWMD Doesn’t Keep Promises

In response to Mr. Bill Louda’s letter proclaiming the sale of Mecca Farms to the South Florida Water Management District to be a win-win (“Mecca Sale A Win-Win For Everyone,” June 14), I have to say that this was nothing more than a regurgitation of SFWMD propaganda. It’s very troubling that the SFMWD has a lot of people convinced that this sale somehow benefits Acreage residents.

My point is not that the things the SFWMD promises to do are bad; rather, my point is that they can’t be trusted to fulfill any of their promises in the first place. So, selling the land to private developers and reserving a chunk of it for the Palm Beach County Health Care District to build a new hospital is a better idea.

One of the myths I hear a lot is that once the SFWMD takes control of Mecca Farms, Acreage storm water will drain into the Loxahatchee River. That is false, and here’s why.

There is already an existing canal, the C-18 crossover canal, that runs from the north border of Mecca Farms to the C-18 canal in Jupiter Farms, and is then subsequently discharged into the Jupiter Inlet. About 2.5 miles south of that canal is another canal that terminates at 94th Street and Seminole Pratt Whitney Road. That canal connects to the Indian Trail Improvement District’s drainage infrastructure and also to the L-8 canal. It is only an assumption on my part, but if The Acreage were ever going to be drained into the Jupiter Inlet, it would be done by connecting these two canals.

So, here’s the rub: If the SFWMD was ever going to connect these two canals, they would have done it a long time ago. While there is no doubt that connecting The Acreage to the Jupiter Inlet would help with drainage, the probability that the SFWMD will actually do it is very slim. The ownership of Mecca Farms is not a requirement, but digging a connecting canal is something they could have done a long time ago but didn’t.

It’s pretty much agreed that the SFWMD plans to dig out Mecca Farms. What isn’t so clear is what they plan to do with the fill. Mr. Louda said they will haul millions of tons of dirt down Northlake Blvd. and dump it in the Lake Worth Lagoon for the betterment of Palm Beach County residents. Translation: Palm Beach County will purchase the Mecca fill back from the SFWMD for probably near what they sold the property for, and then also gets to spend millions more to repair Northlake Blvd., which will be damaged by the constant pounding of thousands of dirt trucks. A much closer place to dump all that fill would be on the unimproved Seminole Pratt Whitney right-of-way and connect that road to the Bee Line as we were promised 60 years ago. A dirt road is better than no road at all. Either that, or dump it on Acreage roads where it’s desperately needed. But something tells me that neither will ever happen.

While I may be guilty of kicking a dead horse here because it seems that the sale of Mecca is a done deal. I would like to point out that this is corrupt government at its finest. I’m a 50-year resident of Palm Beach County, and the SFWMD’s track record says they won’t do much of anything they promised. But I do hope I’m wrong. So let’s mark our calendars and see if a year from now we have a shooting range, watersports park and adequate drainage in The Acreage. Only time will tell.

Dennis Hawkins
The Acreage