Plans to move the Miami International Boat Show to the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin continue to come under fire from a variety of groups.
Now, show organizers are responding to what they call "an aggressive campaign of mistruths" by the village of Key Biscayne.
As part of that effort, the show is reaching out to local media to dispel "misinformation" coming from the village with a series of myths and facts, which appears below
MYTH: Heavy traffic and shutdowns are a threat to the ability to move emergency equipment to Virginia Key and Key Biscayne.
FACT: Boat Show organizers have been working with the police and fire departments of Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami and the Village of Key Biscayne to develop a plan that will maintain traffic flow for residents and for emergency vehicles during the show.
- The majority of attendees will come by water taxi and shuttles from parking located offsite. Water taxis are capable of transporting as many as 25,000 people per day.
- There will be a lane of traffic dedicated to local vehicles in both directions.
- There are only 3,800 parking spaces on Virginia Key, and those will only be available if pre-paid.
- Click here for details on the transportation plan, including a traffic study conducted by the City of Miami during the Coconut Grove Arts Festival showing that additional traffic will be minimized.
MYTH: The Miami International Boat Show has at least two other viable locations to move the show in Miami including Marlins Park and the former Bertram Yacht facility.
FACT: The Miami International Boat Show considered both of these locations as well as many others throughout Miami and deemed them unfit to host the show that the community and boating industry have come to expect. As part of this intensive search process, Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin was suggested as an option by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and the City of Miami due to the history of the site as a boating destination and the type of facility it could provide for the boat show (including water taxi and boat access).
Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin is the best and only location for the Miami International Boat Show in Miami. If the boat show does not take place at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin there will be no Miami International Boat Show in 2016, removing $600 million in economic activity from the local community, including more than $30 million in tax revenue, jeopardizing 55,000 Florida jobs and extinguishing Miami’s beloved annual event celebrating life on the water.
MYTH: The Boat Show will threaten sea life, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers.
FACT: The US Army Corps of Engineers published a Notice of Intent to Permit in response to the boat show’s application for installing temporary docks in the basin. The Corps of Engineers’ report and observations are a routine part of the permitting process for any project in our waterways—a process the boat show’s management has gone through across the U.S. The Miami International Boat Show has worked with the Corps of Engineers, the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resource Management, and other relevant agencies that safeguard our environment for more than 30 years. Our efforts at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin are no different and the boat show will comply with whatever is required in the permit, as always. As a result, any sea life in the area will be protected and respected.
MYTH: The temporary docks for the Boat Show are made of uncovered, unencapsulated Styrofoam that degrade and pollute the basin.
FACT: The Miami International Boat Show is building a new encapsulated dock system that is 100 percent EPA compliant. The docks are encased in high-density one-piece molded polyethylene tubs that are permanently sealed. This design ensures a water-tight seal and prevents any material from entering the environment. No Styrofoam will enter the environment.
MYTH: The Miami International Boat Show has requested 833 temporary vessel slips requiring more than 1,000 new pilings.
FACT: The Miami International Boat Show was instructed by the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resource Management to submit an application for the largest boat show possible as it is much easier for them to scale down a project permit than scale up. As a result, the application is for a much larger number of slips and pilings than the boat show is building. The boat show is expecting to have about 400-500 boats in the water, requiring about the same amount of pilings, which is half of what Key Biscayne is claiming.
An initial field observation study conducted by Coastal Systems International analyzed the basin to determine if there would be any potential for environmental impact as a result of the boat show’s plans. The study showed that there was limited sea life in the basin, including the areas that pilings will be placed. Furthermore, boat show management will work with the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resource Management, Florida Department of Environmental Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other relevant agencies to ensure compliance with all requirements, as always.
MYTH: Public access to Marine Stadium Park and Basin and surrounding areas will be closed to the public up to 90 days.
FACT: Public access to Marine Stadium Park and Basin and surrounding areas will NOT be closed to the public up to 90 days. Customers of the surrounding marinas can arrange with boat show management any access needed during the set-up of the show, during its 5 day duration and during tear down.
MYTH: The boat show will block access to parks and marinas.
FACT: The boat show will not block access to parks and marinas but will require some controlled access during key construction times:
- The Rowing Center will have access at all times, and is working with the boat show to offer rowing activities as part of the boat show.
- Access to dry storage at the City of Miami Marine Stadium Marina will be limited for approximately 37 days from January 20 through February 25, 2016.
- Access to dry storage at the Rickenbacker Marina will be restricted for 9 days from February 8 through February 16, 2016 during show and set up hours. All Rickenbacker Marina in-water boats will remain accessible with valet and courtesy porters for customers during the show.
- All dry storage area customers (at both marinas) are receiving ample notice, to arrange in advance, for access to their vessels during the restricted dates. Vessels can be placed in-water in advance or can be made accessible during non-show hours.
- Public access to bike lanes will be open as usual in both directions.
At what point do these "myths and innuendos" from these groups cross the legal line of "willful disregard for the truth" and become slander and/or liable? I realize the Show would like to have a cooperative stance with everyone, but at what point will the gloves come off and the Show stop letting these groups slap them around?
While I don't have all of the facts, nor am I a local to evaluate whether the Shows approach is appropriate or sufficient, they are giving all of the appearances of trying to be cooperative and ecologically responsible.