Citizens panel invites land prospects for boat launch sites

Deadline is Nov. 30

As its first order of business, the newly named West Boat Launch Citizens Advisory Committee issued a request for available property for potential launch sites in St. Charles Parish.

Committee members approved issuing the invitation at their first meeting held on Oct. 18, which mostly focused on establishing ground rules for the panel. The committee’s invitation asks property owners interested in donating, selling or long-term leasing their land to approach the parish to propose those opportunities.

Any property owners interested are asked to contact the committee by calling (985) 783-5102 or emailing by Nov. 30.

Public Works Director Clayton “Snookie” Faucheux said a citizens committee will ensure the process of finding launch sites isn’t politically motivated.

Faucheux was named “facilitator per resolution,” Danny Herbert as advisory consultant and Don Edwards as senior engineer.

The committee’s next meeting is Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. at the St. Charles Parish Courthouse.

The committee was named amid the council’s controversial move on Aug. 28 when it approved a lease deal for 33.27-acre site along U.S. Highway 90 owned by Gerald Savoie Jr., nephew of Councilwoman Mary Clulee and her husband, Neal Clulee.

The deal was with Gator Cove Marina II LLC in Cut Off, La., a company that Savoie was listed as manager and agent.

Also, a bill of sale shows the Clulees sold 332 acres, including the launch site, to Gator Cove in August, a company formed on May 11, 2017.

Parish President Larry Cochran called it a $3 million “world-class” marina and boat launch for the West Bank.But Councilman Paul Hogan opposed the move, calling it “criminal” because it involved leasing Savoie’s land for $4,500 a month for 30 years. Despite opposition, council members Wendy Benedetto, Julia Fisher-Perrier, Dick Gibbs, Traci Fletcher and Billy Woodruff voted for the deal.

Council Chair Terrell Wilson and Hogan opposed it.

Many residents also questioned leasing, rather than buying, the site.

In response to intense public scrutiny over the lease deal when it was approved in August, Cochran announced he would ask the council to cancel it and would name a citizens advisory committee to offer recommendations on future West Bank boat launch sites to the administration.

Although the council voted to table cancelling the lease in anticipation of the citizens committee considering it, it was determined in October that Cochran had already sent a letter of cancellation dated Sept. 13 to Savoie.

The move surfaced at the council meeting when Hogan inquired what would be done on the matter when the parish’s 60-day option to cancel would expire before their next meeting.

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