Although the lack of concern about the Indian River Lagoon by the Brevard County Commission was shocking, we’re floored by the attitude of the head of the Tourism Development Council for Brevard County. To review, this is the quote from the story in Florida Today attributed to Brevard County Tourist Development Council Chairman Tom Williamson: “While he said cleanup of the lagoon is vital, Williamson, a hotel operator, fears such a declaration would result in fewer tourists coming to the Space Coast. If people hear that we are under a state of emergency, people are not going to come,” Williamson said. “If people stop coming, we’ve got a huge, huge issue.”
We thought about this and can only come to the conclusion that The Brevard County Tourist Development Council just went on the public record advocating that information is willingly suppressed from being accessed by tourists visiting or planning to visit the Indian River Lagoon. If I was a tourist, or potential tourist, and found out about this I’d be pretty angry. Imagine booking a hotel for a family vacation only to find out once you arrive that the air conditioning is out and the plumbing is broken, and they were in a broken state when you booked the trip. We don’t see the Council’s statement on the Indian River Lagoon any different. The attributes of the Indian River Lagoon that are included in promotion packages for the Space Coast include things like fishing, paddle boarding, eco-tours….
The problem here is that once the trust is lost, it’s very hard to get that trust back. Although it may be painful to acknowledge the poor state of the IRL now, it will be a lot more painful when the rug is lifted and people see that they’ve been misled. Full disclosure is always the best policy.
Let’s make this a full-scale unified effort to fix the IRL before it’s too late and we all suffer the consequences. This way, in the future there won’t be a need to be concerned about bad press for the IRL because it will be healthy.