Brevard Commissioner John Tobia To Propose Resolution to Rescind Approval of TDC Funds for Aquarium
By Space Coast Daily // February 6, 2019
watch the meeting live on Space Coast Daily TV
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA –District 3 Brevard County Commissioner John Tobia will propose a resolution during the commission’s Tuesday, Feb. 12 meeting that will rescind approval for use of Tourist Development Tax funds for the proposed Aquarium by the Brevard Zoo.
You can watch the meeting live on Space Coast Daily TV at 5 p.m. See the agenda here.
In September 2018, the Commission was presented with a recommendation from the Tourist Development Council for
approval of capital projects, including $10 million over 8 years for the Indian River Lagoon Conservation Campus and
Plans call for the aquarium to be located on 14 acres south of State Road 528 near Port Canaveral at a total cost of $70 million.
In his resolution, Tobia said that the money would be more wisely spent on initiatives that would directly benefit the health of the Indian River Lagoon.
In March 2018, then Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation which included authorization for local governments to use Tourism Development Tax revenue to prevent the pollution of lagoons and estuaries critical to tourism.
“While the Indian River Lagoon Conservation Campus and Aquarium may provide residents and visitors with a source of entertainment, its contribution to lagoon restoration would be minimal when compared to direct appropriations for that purpose,” said Tobia.
“Should the Aquarium be a viable project within the free-market, it would remain a welcome addition to Brevard County attractions.”
The following resolution would rescind that $10 million aquarium approval, thereby allowing the TDC to consider other lagoon projects:
WHEREAS, the citizens of Brevard County have repeatedly made their wish of a clean and safe lagoon clear; and
WHEREAS, the Indian River Lagoon is an estuary of critical importance to the local, regional, and national ecology; and
WHEREAS, fishkills are frequently occurring within the Indian River Lagoon, including severe fishkills in 2016 and 2013; and
WHEREAS, algal blooms, including those which have a direct impact on the health of citizens and visitors of Brevard County, have occurred in 2018, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012, and 2011; and
WHEREAS, Brevard County’s brown tide is negatively impacting fisheries, recreation, tourism, and property values; and
WHEREAS, pollution of the Indian River Lagoon has been a major contributor to the loss of more than 60% of seagrass beds; and
WHEREAS, it has been determined by the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners that revenue from the “Save Our Lagoon” tax, approved by 62% of voters, should not act to reduce other allocations made to protect the Indian River
WHEREAS, events such as algae blooms and fishkills have a deleterious effect on local quality of life and tourism; and
WHEREAS, the potential restoration of the Indian River Lagoon has been projected to increase the economic impact of tourism by over $997 million, according to a study conducted by Tetra Tech, Inc.; and
WHEREAS, should the Indian River Lagoon not be restored, it is estimated that the local economy would lose approximately $3 billion in tourism and recreation revenue; and
WHEREAS, on March 16th, 2018, Governor Scott signed legislation which included an authorization for local governments to use Tourism Development Tax revenue to prevent the pollution of lagoons and estuaries critical to tourism; and
WHEREAS, while the Indian River Lagoon Conservation Campus and Aquarium may provide residents and visitors with a source of entertainment, its contribution to lagoon restoration would be minimal when compared to direct appropriations for that purpose; and
WHEREAS, should the Aquarium be a viable project within the free-market, it would remain a welcome addition to Brevard County attractions.
STAY TUNED TO SPACE COAST DAILY FOR UPDATES
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS