Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Surfrider Members & Plantiffs Begin to Testify

A number of local members finally got to testify on behalf of the local Surfrider Palm Beach County Chapter.

On Monday afternoon former Chapter Chair Kerri Smith discussed impacts that would occur to members and what other members had voiced to her while she was Chair. She help explain to the Judge surfing terms and why this was important to the Chapter. In addition, Connie Gasque, an Executive Committee member, covered the diving and reefs impacts. Connie has been diligent at taking updated photos of the beaches in both Reach 7 and 8, which have been used throughout this case.

On Tuesday, Eastern Surfing Association (ESA), Snook Foundation, Captain Danny Barrow, and Terry Gibson took the stand, testifing to their concerns and issues with this project. Captain Barrow showed the economic debacle that would occur to him and other charter fishing guides if this habitat were to be impacted. Terry Gibson, as an individual plantiff who grew up at this beach, did not leave any item left toquestion as he discussed the fishing and surfing impacts to communities that recreate at this beach.

Tom Warnke called in from Texas to represent the historical importance of this area to ESA and the number of contests over the years that have occurred here, all of which provide valuable revenue to the City of Lake Worth.

Brett Fitgerald, the Southeast Coordinator of the Snook Foundation and former Surfrider Vice Chair, did a great job of highlighting the use of the pier and beaches for snook fishing and his role in voting for taking this litigative action. In addition he discussed personal loss to his family and others from the ability to snorkel the nearshore reefs and the ability to teach kids with hands on learning about the ocean habitat.

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