Dangerous ditches spark drowning concerns

Dangerous ditches spark drowning concerns

By Mike Mason. CREATED Jul 16, 2012 - UPDATED: Jul 16, 2012

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Some Lee County residents say a construction project has flooded their neighborhood, creating dangerous ditches and they fear this could lead to deadly drownings. Now they want to know what the homeowner's association is doing about it. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason going straight to the top for answers.
Residents think a dog has already drowned in one of those ditches and this past weekend a toddler came dangerously close. So today we brought their concerns to the president of the home owner's association.

These ditches were dug out to drain the rising waters but so far they've done just the opposite, creating canals instead.

Sheila Garcilazo: "They never notified us that this was even being dug up, they only notified certain people in the neighborhood."

Sheila Garcilazo never expected to have a waterfront property when she moved to Sheltering Pines Mobile Home Park in South Fort Myers.  Problems began a couple of months ago when this new Walgreens broke ground.  The pharmacy agreed to help pay for the park's new drainage system as long as Walgreens could use it as well.  But work on the drainage system has hit a snag and stopped.  Now the ditches are filling up when it rains, creating one big mess.

Sheila Garcilazo: "Standing water, mosquitoes, danger to the children, danger to the pets and the water has nowhere to flow."

People say a neighbor's dog recently disappeared after last being seen near one of the ditches and over the weekend a 2-year old toddler wandered away from home, dangerously close to the deep water.

Sheila Garcilazo: "The baby could have gone into the water and actually drowned. We were lucky we got the baby and put the baby back into the house."

Michaela McNier is on the board of the homeowner's association and says the president should take action before someone gets hurt.

Michaela McNier: "I want to know when they're going to get it done and please just get it done."

We took her concerns to board president, DuWayne Boudin.

Mike Mason: "The concern of residents is that maybe a baby could go in there, a dog or somebody could drown.
DuWayne Boudin: "Yeah, if the people don't take care of their children and let them run wild I guess they could."

Boudin says these barricades were put up today to make the area a little safer but residents worry it may not be enough.

Sheila Garcilazo: "If something happens it's too late, that's all."

Boudin says he doesn't know when the project will be complete. The entire thing will cost around $65-thousand dollars and Walgreens has agreed to pay for half.