Notes on the 3-19-15 Port of Palm Beach Commission Meeting. Highlights: Summation of the Port of Palm Beach’s Commission Meeting by George Black Jr. (httpwww.PortofPalmBeachPost.com, POPB-TV.)
The meeting started as usual with call to order, roll call, and the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. The minutes of the February meeting were approved and a presentation was given by the Harbor of Hope Organization with regard to the benevolent services they provide for seafaring mariners that enter our International Sea Port.
Harbor of hope uses donated, food, supplies, and contributions to help wayfaring strangers that grace our Port with their presence. One of the fundraising events that the Harbor of Hope Organization sponsors to promote awareness and raise funding for their cause is the annual “Blessing of the Fleet”. This year it will be held at the Port with a twofold purpose. The first is to raise awareness of the need of their service by those said persons. The second reason is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Port of Palm Beach, and it’s service to the world. This event will be held on April 11, at the Port between 10 AM and 3 PM (EST). For more information call Aaron Hoffman at (561)644-6290 or (561)676-2104.
Next in the agenda was an announcement that proclaimed that the Port of Palm Beach continues to sustain record numbers of passengers with the recent addition of the Grand Celebration now hailing from the Port of Palm Beach. At this point the Port is continuing to handle the larger parking stresses, but parking will continue to be a concern that will need to be addressed as the Island Breeze has been acquired by an investment group called SourcePoint. Now that the ship has a new owner, and is under new management it is scheduled to again start sailing on the 1st of June. This will increase Port revenues; however, it will possibly make our already stressed parking condition even more challenging.
Slip #3 is now nearing completion, and will be starting it’s operation soon with it’s new face lift. The Port got some good news as this proceeds. It looks as though the slip project will end with an under budget completion, Wooo! More good news, In the last thirty days a sea turtle was found trapped in the intake port of the cooling lines of the FP&L Plant. The turtle had become trapped due to it’s illness and was unable to swim free on it’s own. Evidence of the long time illness was the large barnacles on her shell. After her rescue she was named Francis, and was sent to the Turtle Rescue center in Juno Beach.
The big event of interest to every tax payer in the Port of Palm Beach is “What will the Port do about our channel and turning basin?” This issue was decided, and failed in process on the last attempt due to financial, ecological, and environmental concerns. The good news on this issue though is that at least for now our ling time struggling sand transfer plant and supporting equipment have finally been completely restored and with that the annual dredging operation has been completed. (see posted video.)
The deepening, and widening issue has become quite the hot topic due to it’s potential burden on this special taxing district which consists of half the area of Palm Beach County. The commission, the towns of the Port District, Environmentalists, and the Army Corp of Engineers must take a close look at this because of it’s massive affect on on the economic engine of our county, and on all the ta payers of the district. The things that must be heavily weighed in these decisions are the need for a continuing and sustained economic growth, concern for the safety of our residence, visitors, and their ships, crews, and, and our sea life and environment.
There was also some discussion of the potential for additional duty free zone area. (a subject many people are ignorant about) contracts are in the making for our potential agreements with Tropical Shipping and SourcePoint (new owners of Island Breeze). also the Port has a winner for the security for the Port, Integrated Fire and Security Solutions was awarded the bid for this work, and that contract is also being solidified.