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. ”
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.