The following is meant for the commissioners and residents of Gilchrist county, Florida. Several years ago, while enjoying a day at Hart Springs, I picked up a Recreation Guide for Gilchrist county. The vision statement for the year 2020 enlisted in the brochure caught my eye. It read: “Our vision for Gilchrist county in 2020 is rural communities working to provide opportunities for all its citizens, through balanced growth and enhanced education, while preserving our proud heritage, natural resources and agriculture.”
Wow! What a place to live. Gilchrist county is full of stunning rivers and springs, as well as quaint and friendly communities. To know, that people were so concerned about preserving the beautiful natural resources in this area, inspired me. My family and I have been visiting, camping, and enjoying your hospitality for 25 years.
I have seen in my own community what is happening in yours. We have experienced several years of drought, sinkholes, dried up lakebeds and wells, and water bottling companies taking OUR water to sell for profit. Now, more than ever, our springs are in severe threat. On Rt. 340 outside of High Springs there have been signs stating “Springs Protection Area”. Pumping water from our natural springs is in no way preserving or protecting them.
Building a bottling plant at Blue Springs may bring a few local jobs, but at what cost? The noisy trucks alone will emit high amounts of pollution into the air as well as the added wear and tear on roads and the everyday eye sore they will bring to this beautiful community. We won’t be the only ones suffering. The animals and plant life in the area will feel the negative affects of this bottling plant as much, if not more, than we will. This process may harm springs and rivers, and may dry up home water wells and cause the formation of sinkholes. The negative affects of this water bottling plant being built will far outweigh the positive ones.
Think about all the water being shipped out of Gilchrist County each year. This water is bottled and sold for profit. This water belongs to us and the people of Florida need to have a say in what is done with it. We need to stand up, speak out, and put a stop to this before all of our beautiful springs are being pumped. We owe this to our children and their children to make sure they will one day have a clean environment to live in and beautiful natural springs to enjoy.
All springs need to be classified as environmentally sensitive so we will no longer have to deal with foreign and domestic companies coming in and trying to take over and sell our water. We need to preserve these natural springs to the best of our abilities. We can’t afford to sit back and watch these pristine wonders be destroyed because of greed and the almighty dollar.
With all due respect, a vote for any bottling plant would be a vote against your vision. Please stand up and help educate others so we can protect our springs now and forever.