Calling it “a very substantial” property, parish officials say they have a West Bank boat launch site in hand that will be announced by the landowner.
Public Works Director Clayton “Snookie” Faucheux said the “alternate site” consists of a minimum of 37 acres in Des Allemands in his report to the St. Charles Parish West Bank Boat Launch Citizens Advisory Committee.
The Aug. 14 meeting may the last one for the group, whose mission was to recommend boat launch sites on the West Bank to the Parish Council.
Parish President Larry Cochran thanked committee members for their service. Cochran also told them, that although they had the site, it was up to them if they wanted to continue meeting.
In a 4-to-3 vote, the committee voted to disband although there was discussion over whether they had the votes for the move with only seven of the 11 members present. Committee Chair Rick Whitney expressed a desire to see the project down the road or to being a “deliverable,” but Faucheux told him it was already one.
“It’s one substantial landowner involved with several decision makers,” Faucheux said of the site. “I do not see an announcement for another four to five months and it could be longer depending on how it this goes. We’ve been given a timetable, but it’s flexible. Until we receive direction from them, we’re in a holding mode.”
But he did add, “It will be a project that St. Charles Parish is very proud of.”
Faucheux said the location has been approved by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), which approved a $1.8 million grant to build a boat launch in Des Allemands with BP disaster settlement funds.
The grant initially called for building it on the Wiegand property (land owner Robert Wiegand offered to donate in Des Allemands), but CPRA rejected the location as conflicting with future plans to build a levee there. It also said finding a site in its vicinity would be acceptable and Faucheux said the alternate site would work.
Boat launch committee members had devoted numerous meetings to identifying potential sites. In response to an intense public backlash over the proposed $4,500-a-month Gator Cove boat launch lease, the council appointed the advisory committee in November of last year to assess potential sites, including Gator Cove.
By January, the 13-member committee asked the parish to get appraisals on a site on U.S. Highway 90 in the Des Allemands bridge area, Shoernstein property in the Ama area on Highway 90, Marshland (Pier 90) and the controversial Gator Cove site.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Faucheux told them he had nothing to report on those sites because none of the property owners responded or followed through with the parish’s requests to meet and/or get the appraisals.
Asked about the status of the existing Des Allemands boat launch, Faucheux said no grant money will be spent to upgrade the location.