Originally published by The News-Press on November 2, 2023 by Luis Zambrano

After a startling dropout by several high-profile Southwest nonprofits, the challenge to keep Cape Coral’s Chiquita Boat Lock, a nearly 50-year-old manmade barrier, in operation moves forward as the city’s attempt to dismiss it based on timeliness fails.

According to documents filed on Oct. 31, Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk ordered that the petition to challenge the removal was timely filed after holding an evidentiary hearing in late August and September.

President of the Matlacha Civic Association Michael Hannon, who had challenged the removal in the past, said he expects the challenge to be successful.

Hannon said nothing has changed regarding the environmental threat removing the boat lock would have on the mangroves and the water in the Caloosahatchee River.

“Now we’ll finally get to have a hearing on the merits,” Hannon said. “And we expect the outcome will be the same as last time despite the city spending hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of dollars more than they did last time.”

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