UPDATE: This TUESDAY, December 15th at 9:30 am the Miami-Dade County Commission will meet on the Boat Show’s environmental permit. The commission took pause last month and deferred the vote siting the deed restrictions and the event’s alarming footprint.
This permit is a key element in the City of Miami’s controversial plan to move the Miami International Boat Show to Virginia Key’s Marine Stadium site. As litigation moves forward between the Village of Key Biscayne and the City of Miami – the Boat Show’s fate on Virginia Key hangs in the wind.
READ RELATED: MIAMI HERALD OP-ED “BOAT SHOW A BAD FIT FOR VIRGINIA KEY
Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting at the Key Biscayne Village Council Chamber to discuss the Boat Show’s plan. Hundreds of concerned citizens attended and urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny the Boat Show’s permit.
A previous analysis by the Army Corps concluded the Boat Show’s move to Virginia Key could cause “substantial” harm to Biscayne Bay’s natural habitat. Since then, the Boat Show has added multiple water taxis to their transportation plan – a route that comes too close for comfort to protected manatee zones.
The Key Biscayne Citizen Scientist Project illustrates the reasons why all of Miami-Dade county residents should be concerned with the Miami International Boat Show’s move:
o Environmental damage: A recent US Army Corp of Engineers report showed that the Boat Show’s move would cause “substantial” harm to Virginia Key’s ecosystem and lead to serious impacts on marine life.
o Blocking year-round access: The Boat Show only takes place over a 5-day period, yet the event’s setup and takedown will require the site and adjacent waterfront to be closed-off for public access for up to 6 months of the year. This would completely eliminate the creation and use of a public park that was outlined in the Virginia Key Master Plan.
o Taxpayer burden: The City of Miami’s plan to commercialize the Marine Stadium site will require upwards of $20 million in taxpayer dollars. Alternative sites, including Marlins Park, have been suggested, but Boat Show organizers insist Virginia Key is the only location that ‘suits their logistical needs.’
o Traffic nightmare: The Rickenbacker Causeway will be a virtual parking lot during the Boat Show, restricting access for visitors to Virginia Key and Key Biscayne and causing gridlock for emergency vehicles.