Belle Isle drainage fix seems to be working — but not before heavy cost to residents

The pink sidewalk and curbing has been replaced. Island Avenue and the causeway in front of the Grand Venetian are dry.

It looks like the Belle Isle drainage fix actually worked.

But not before many Belle Isle residents suffered damage to their cars from repeatedly driving through salt water flooding on Island Avenue.

The drainage fix, which involved replacing an old and clogged outfall pipe with a new and larger one, was declared successful by new capital improvements director Fernando Vazquez at last week’s Miami Beach City Commission meeting.

“In principal, what we have seen so far is optimal,” Vazquez said. “

We’ve documented the failed efforts and frequent floods on the island.

Last week, Belle Isle Residents Association president Scott Diffenderfer thanked city commissioners for their efforts, but pointed out that during years of failed effort to fix the drainage problem, the city created a situation that caused the streets to flood with bay water even when it didn’t rain. Belle Isle residents warned for years that the project wasn’t engineered right, but the city didn’t listen.

“This is a lesson the city really needs to take to heart,” Diffenderfer said. “Belle Isle never had a salt water issue until this project started. This city pump forced salt water from the bay…on to our streets.

“We are in the to hundreds of thousands of dollars of totalled cars” from rust caused by salt-water, he said. “…This was created by the city.  hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage — two-year-old cars that go in for brake jobs and are totalled out.”

Commissioner Michael Gongora said “all we can do is apologize for what happened in the past.”

Adding Commissioner Jonah Wolfson: “It is true, there were years there where it just fell through the cracks.”

Said Commissioner Ed Tobin: There’s no excuse for what had been going on here for many, many years….i will tell you that there needs to be more accountability….Unfortunately, some employees need to be let go….to say we asre taking more careful measures now….”

You can watch a video of the entire discussion.

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2 responses to “Belle Isle drainage fix seems to be working — but not before heavy cost to residents

  1. Thank goodness that drainage problem is fixed.
    Hope the “bus” situation is fixed as well. I am so sorry about that rust problem.
    —Dale Riley
    Durham,North Carolina

    Will be visiting down there in November, 2011. Glad those Pink Snails are gone too.
    They were pretty; but not appropriate for Belle Island. I understand they are at a city
    park down in Coral Gables and the children are enjoying them. That is good! Good to hear from you!

  2. Flooding on Purdy Avenue is another reason why Joe Allen’s closed down.

    Miami Beach is becoming a mess. The city and the business community really blew it.

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