Located on the highest point in Pelican Bay, the Community Center fared relatively well. The impact was largely wind and rain. Tree damage, debris, washed-out areas, power loss, and damage to the tennis courts. The Foundation prioritized getting the Community Center back up, and it is 100% operational. The gym, spa, lockers/showers, WiFi, meeting rooms, north tennis courts, and scheduled activities are all backup and running. Repair work is still ongoing, so please be alert to marked areas.
Our beaches are closed and dangerous right now. There is debris, including hazardous material, in the sand and in the water. We have received multiple reports of beachcombers being injured by buried sharp objects, and Collier County has closed all the beaches. Channel markers from Sanibel washed up on North beach. The County is working on raking the beaches, and mother nature will need time to aid with natural rinsing. The width of the beaches fared well; however, the heights of the beaches were affected. There is too much sand pushed up under the Sandbar, while there is a significant loss of sand under Marker 36. We are working to have one beach access point established at the south beach for early 2023. North beach will remain closed for this upcoming season.
SANDBAR / SOUTH BEACH
South Beach took a significant hit. The ramps, railings, and outside decking are gone or damaged. The west wall of the indoor dining room blew in, and both the bar and kitchen were damaged. It appears the roof trusses may have been compromised. Infrastructure that includes plumbing, electrical, water, sewer, and lift stations are all blown apart and will have to be rebuilt. The Sandbar facility will be closed indefinitely.
On the bright side, the berms, boardwalks down to the tram turn around, and large timber piling appear to have fared very well. The heavy timber structure multi-purpose deck is also intact. Kitchen equipment will be evaluated once utilities can be restored.
The Commons lower level was under 5 feet of water, which is where receiving, walk-in cooler and freezer, all general supplies, rolling equipment including carts and trams, all facility maintenance equipment, and supplies are all stored. We expect most is lost to water and salt inundation. The upper level of the Commons was operating on emergency generator power until this past Monday, but Member and Guest Services are fully functioning.
All the Har-Tru tennis courts, some fencing, and building elements were damaged. The courts will need to be scraped and rebuilt. At the same time, the other items will be repaired. We expect this facility back in early 2023.
MARKER 36/NORTH BEACH
Marker 36 is structurally in better shape than Sandbar. It sits higher, and most of the damage was to the infrastructure below the deck, although both ramps/stairs were damaged. The outdoor bar, indoor dining, and kitchen all appear to have minor impact issues. The entire underbelly of the facility was torn apart, and remnants of the infrastructure elements ended up 40 yards into the Mangroves. Due to the scouring of the height on the beach, the Gulf did breach the beach, and at one point, there was a small shallow channel flowing from the Gulf into the mangroves. The berms, boardwalk, and heavy timber pilings appear to have fared well as we await the structural engineer’s assessment.
The Audit & Budget Committee will be discussing possible insurance recovery, along with the available funds to repair and rebuild the facilities. Sources of funds include designated and undesignated contingency funds within the Operating Fund, what can be utilized out of the Replacement Reserve Fund, and what can be utilized out of the Capital Fund. To reiterate the previous article in the Pelican Bay Post, flood insurance at the beaches, because of their position seaward of the Coastal Construction Line, is unavailable.
Currently, we do not know the total cost of repairs and restoration, nor a more accurate timeline for critical elements of our community, such as beach access and beach restaurants, until thorough examination by structural engineers and requirement assessments by our general contractor, etc. We are proceeding with clean-up and recovery with an intense sense of urgency, and as more definitive timelines for reopening become more informed, we will keep the community abreast of developments. It is unclear whether a special assessment for members will be needed until we have a better sense of insurance recovery and restoration costs.
PRIORITIES TO RESTORE
Engineers are working closely with our general contractor to examine, assess and build a plan for restoration. A disaster recovery firm is engaged and actively working through clean-up and the complexities of insurance adjusting.
#1 Priority is to get access to the beach. This will be done at South beach. Note that this will not be just beach access but transportation, restrooms, and some form of limited service. This will not happen in 2022 and is unknown when in 2023 – but is prioritized for during the season.
#2 Restore remaining tennis at South/commons. The courts at the Commons are being scraped and will be resurfaced. Potentially early 2023 season
#3 Functioning Beach restaurants. There will be no beach restaurants this season, and we need to be hopeful for one reopening before next season. The focus will be on restoring Marker 36/ North beach since it sustained less damage and the ability to get heavy equipment and access down the beach via the Vanderbilt Beach access point. Infrastructure will need to be rebuilt, which will require plans and County permitting.
#4 Rebuild restore Sandbar. Once Marker 36 is restored, work can begin at the Sandbar. The dilemma is whether we rebuild “as is” (quicker) or re-evaluate and redesign (longer). The re-evaluate /redesign will have significantly more complexities, processes, permitting, and approvals. We also need to be mindful of the FEMA 50% Rule.
Many have asked about year-round staff for restaurants, beaches, trams, etc. The Foundation has worked hard to reach out and ensure everyone is safe and accounted for. Some have been affected by the storm. Year-round staff is working hard to help in any way to restore, clean up and rebuild. There is plenty of work to keep them employed, and we are fortunate to have such dedication.
THANK YOU TO OUR PELICAN BAY COMMUNITY!
We appreciate the outpouring of support, encouragement, and patience. This is unlike anything we have faced before, and while we will recover, it will take time, teamwork, understanding, fortitude, and, again, patience. We are fortunate to have what we do, and soon we will restore Pelican Bay fully.