PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Captain Dylan Hubbard is finally hopeful. Hopeful that there will soon be a fix to the problem plaguing John’s Pass.
“Every day it seems like we get a little bit more momentum. More eyeballs on the website savejohnspass.com,” said Hubbard. “More people signing up, begging for more information and how to join the movement. “
For more than a decade, sand has been migrating into the pass from the Gulf of Mexico, creating a small beach area along the south side of the John’s Pass Boardwalk.
Unfortunately, that’s where Hubbard’s Marina is, and depending on the tide and the amount of sand, boats can’t get into or out of the marina.
Hubbard says if something isn’t done to remedy the issue, after decades on the boardwalk, he might be forced to relocate.
Madeira Beach Vice Mayor Doug Andrews is equally concerned. He knows with the loss of business on the boardwalk, there will be a trickle down effect to the entire community.
“John’s Pass is our central nervous system. I mean everybody comes and goes through there,” Andrews told fellow city commissioners at Wednesday night’s meeting. “It’s incumbent on us to make sure that we try to keep our businesses afloat and keep everybody moving through there.”
But, that will take time and money. A short term solution would be to dredge the area. But the sand will still migrate back. A longer-term and much more expensive fix would be to extend the John’s Pass Jetty significantly. A number of city, county and state officials plan to meet next Friday at the Madeira Beach City Hall to discuss the issue and possible remedies.
Meantime, there is also a safety issue. Despite the fact there are signs warning that the small beach is off-limits and private property, people routinely go out there and play in the water. Madeira Beach Fire Rescue Chief Clint Belk says with the increased sand, the currents are much swifter than normal, and therefore create a very dangerous environment for swimmers.
“John’s Pass has now taken over as the number one water rescue location in the county,” Chief Belk told city leaders. “So, it’s an issue.”