JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city’s resiliency committee on Thursday heard the results of a survey done among Duval County residents as to Jacksonville’s readiness to deal with the threat from storms and hurricanes.
More than 700 people were asked if their community was doing enough to address the issues of sea levels rising and make the city more resilient to storm impacts, and the survey shows 88% said no.
“If we don’t do something now in correcting resiliency, it’s going to continue to pile up and pile up and it’s going to get to a point where we cant afford it,” said Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis, who represents District 9.
The different options to improve infrastructure include more sea walls, stormwater valves or living shorelines.
The problem is getting enough of the community to buy in, in order to get the funding to do it.
“It’s really important that we get to a space where we can really get out there and market it and promote and not be cumbersome, because if we are, we are going to get shot down. I mean, nobody’s going to listen except the ones that know exactly what it is because everybody else is going to say, ‘I don’t know what the heck they’re talking about,‘” said Jacksonville City Councilwoman Joyce Morgan, who represents District 1.
The resiliency committee was formed after back-to-back years brought Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017. Irma caused historic river flooding in Jacksonville, inundating the downtown area, San Marco, Riverside, the Northside and other parts of town.
The survey also found 90% of people said a regional compact is needed to deal with the challenges of future storm impacts. Such regional compacts have been created in several South Florida metro areas.
The committee, which started holding meetings more than a year ago, is tasked with coming up with proposals to help prepare the city for sea-level rise and flooding. It’s uncertain when specific recommendations might be offered.
The committee said it wants to hold virtual town halls to hear what areas need improvements, but there are no scheduled events at this time.