On Monday January 2nd we ran a story that we received from the Sunnyland Chapter ACBS in regards to potential reduced water levels in Lake Dora and related Harris Chain Lakes, and what impact this could have for local boaters in terms using and navigating the lakes. Also, the possible impact this could have in regards to the upcoming 2012 Sunnyland Antique & Classic Boat Show in March. (You can see that story by clicking here)
A Public Hearing was held on January 5th to give local residents and Sunnyland Chapter members the “Opportunity for Public Comment” on the water management issues directly to The Saint John River Water Management District (SJRWMD) at the Mission Inn Conference Center.
Here’s the following update we received from the Sunnyland Chapter ACBS on Wednesday, January 11th with some great news…
Lake Apopka Dam Will OPEN!
By Riley Warddrip
The Saint John River Water Management District (SJRWMD) reversed its recommendation and their Board voted to reopen the Apopka dam to allow water to flow into and through Lake Dora and the Harris Chain of Lakes. This action stops the draining of Lake Dora and the Harris Chain of Lakes. Water level should no longer be a problem for our 25th annual Sunnyland Antique and Classic Boat Festival at Wooton Park in Tavares, FL from March 22 to March 25, 2012. Come One COME ALL!!!
The following link will take you to the SJRWMD news release regarding the Board’s vote: http://webapub.sjrwmd.com/agws10/newsrelease/ViewNews.aspx?nrd=nr12-003
A special THANK YOU to Diane Heitman and Vance Jochim who also spoke and of course the 50+ Sunnyland members that supported us by attending the SJRWMD public forum last Thursday at the Mission Inn. We are sure the few local Sunnyland members that could not make it were with us in spirit! YOU MADE THE DIFFERENCE!!!
Several sources reported that 400+ local residents were at the meeting with over 40 speakers. We now know that the 50+ Sunnyland members that showed up wearing “Yellow Boat Show Committee Shirts” really stood out. Collectively we were a group that commanded attention.
Yesterday, Vance Jochim, Diane Heitman and I drove to Palatka to again speak briefly and observe the SJRWMD board vote on whether or not to reopen the Apopka Dam. The SJRWMD Board realized that adequate water depth results in more than just a positive environmental impact It also enables the largest Antique and Classic Boat Festival in the United States plus thousands of additional tourists from 3 countries, 28 states and the Virgin Islands.
After the vote to reopen the dam, one of the SJRWMD staff made a special point to say that the presence of Sunnyland (in our distinctive Yellow Boat Show Committee Shirts), combined with our presentations and follow-up documentation was critical to reversing the decision and reopening the Apopka dam.
There was one other side benefit. The lake level discussion got enough local attention that the Orlando Fox 35 television station allowed us 15 seconds of fame as we gave a plug for our Antique and Classic Boat Festival. If you’d like to see the video clip this link will take you to it:
[youtube width=”440″ height=”344″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6kgEADLPOk&feature=email ..[/youtube]
Especially with this good news, we hope you will register right now for the 25th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival at: www.acbs-sunnyland.org . Select “2012 Boat Show” in the main menu on the left side bar.
Special thanks to Riley Warddrip and the Sunnyland ACBS team for all their hard work on this important water management issue and congratulations to everyone who participated. The effort certainly payed off!
We are looking forward to once again seeing all our Classic Boater friends at the 25th Annual 2012 Sunnyland Antique & Classic Boat Festival in March.