Professional Engineer Keith Williams, who is Director of the City of Sanibel’s newly-formed Department of Community Services, was the guest speaker at the Sanibel Captiva Lions dinner meeting Oct. 18 at the Sanibel Community House.
Williams spoke about the red tide fish kill and subsequent massive clean up by the city. The intensified red tide in the Gulf of Mexico released a neurotoxin that killed an unprecedented volume of marine life along the Southwest Florida coastline. Sanibel mobilized immediately and collected 852,000 pounds of dead sea life from the beaches in two months. Clean up tallied $1.6 million, which the city anticipates recouping.
“We must be prepared at all times,” said Williams, who served as coordinator of the city’s debris removal operation following Hurricane Irma and the fish kill cleanup. He shared with the Lions that Sanibel was the only place in the area where dead sea life were removed with very little sand, which meant it could be recycled at the Lee County Waste-to-Energy Facility.
Sanibel announced at the first of October the merging of the Departments of Building, Planning and Public Works into the Department of Community Services. The reorganization is to provide a ‘one-stop shopping environment’ for citizens and improve the city’s efficiency and effectiveness as it transitions to an online permitting system. Williams has been with the city for six years and was formerly the acting director of Public Works.
“We appreciate Keith speaking to us about the city’s efforts in the fish kill clean up and taking all of our questions,” said Sanibel Captiva Lions Club President Bob Kern.
Sanibel Captiva Lions will be busy through Christmas with volunteering at the 10K Race 4 FISH and Taste of the Islands hosted by Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, as well as selling Christmas trees and ringing the Salvation Army bell at Bailey’s General Store and Jerry’s Foods.
The Lions’ next meeting will be Feather Bingo for Charity, in its 31st year, Nov. 7 at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. There will be a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, numerous games and a total of $400 in prizes up for grabs. Guest entrance fee is $20 and includes dinner. RSVP to Lion Jeff MacDonald by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 302-521-1158.