St. Charles Parish’s efforts to provide highly desired new boat launches on the West Bank generated still more controversy at Monday’s council meeting.
When newly named Council Chair Dick Gibbs looked at the agenda, he commented on the last-minute addition of a proposed ordinance to accept a land donation for a Des Allemands boat launch site.
Gibbs could not be reached for further comment on the move by press time.
But Councilwoman Julia Fisher-Perrier questioned why the proposed ordinance came from Councilman Paul Hogan instead of the St. Charles Parish West Bank Boat Launch Citizens Advisory Committee that was named to make recommendations to the council.
“It seems Mr. Hogan circumvented that process and prematurely pushed his own plan,” Fisher-Perrier said. “We need to pick the best solution for boat launches that make sense. I care that the outcome is the most cost effective and common sense decision. We agreed that our first attempt didn’t work initially and this time we put in place clear boundaries which removed the council from the beginning stages of the decision making.
“The committee, which is comprised of sportsmen, enthusiasts, experts and regular Joes can tell us what they would like to see. Then, we can take next steps to make it happen. We aren’t there yet, but apparently Mr. Hogan is.”
Hogan, whose allegations against the Gator Cove lease deal in Luling last year resulted in its cancellation and naming of the committee, said he utilized a commonly used procedure of presenting 16 copies of the proposed ordinance to the council to get it on the agenda. He maintained he did it when the administration didn’t introduce it on Monday as requested by him.
“Why are we not doing this?” he said. “This guy wants to give us land. We need to move on this.”
Hogan’s proposed ordinance calls for accepting a 4.5-acre land donation from Robert Wiegand in Des Allemands for a boat launch site and anticipated levee project.
With it being the only property he’s aware of in the area available for this, Hogan emphasized it’s important to act as soon as possible even though it’s been in talks for years.
Hogan anticipates the parish attorney and Wiegand will tweak the documentation for the donation that will come up for consideration at the council’s Jan. 22 meeting. What won’t change is it will stipulate if the parish doesn’t build the Des Allemands boat launch within three years that ownership of the land returns to Wiegand, he said.
Citizens Advisory Committee Chairman Rick Whitney said the group has requested the parish acquire appraisals on five sites, including Wiegand’s property, as well as Highway 90 in the Des Allemands bridge area, Shoernstein, Marshland and Gator Cove.
The administration has not made that request to the council to date.
Although Hogan’s ordinance didn’t originate with the committee, Whitney said he spoke to Wiegand individually and shared the results with the committee, the council and administration.
Whitney says high points of the proposed deal include the parish would own the site and improvements. He also said grant money may be available for the project and there are no water bottom issues with the location.