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Miami tourism bureau backs new boat-show site

Another Miami installation added its name to the growing list of those supporting the Miami International Boat Show’s move.

Another Miami installation added its name to the growing list of those supporting the Miami International Boat Show’s move to the Miami Marine Stadium and surrounding area.

On Friday, the executive committee of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau said in a letter to boat show director Cathy Rick-Joule that it unanimously consented to approve the show’s efforts to relocate to the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin on Virginia Key in February.

Yachts Miami Beach, a separately run show formerly known as the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach, will remain at its location along Collins Avenue. (See Thursday’s story in Trade Only Today.)

The group’s support comes just before a Miami-Dade County Commission meeting on Tuesday that will determine the fate of the in-water portion of the show. The National Marine Manufacturers Association, the nonprofit group that runs the show, asked for exhibitors to weigh in and show support for the show’s move prior to the Tuesday meeting.

In November, the county commissioners voted to delay a decision on whether to issue a permit for the Miami International Boat Show that is necessary for its in-water portion to move forward, punting the decision to Tuesday.

An extended back and forth between show supporters and Key Biscayne leaders occurred at the November meeting, attendees said. Key Biscayne leaders have long opposed the show’s move to neighboring Virginia Key, citing traffic and environmental concerns.

“Key Biscayne’s leaders are fighting the show and its three-quarter-century legacy in our community because of the possibility of being inconvenienced by traffic for a few days in February,” Rick-Joule wrote in a Miami Herald op-ed that ran Sunday.

While making “misleading claims about the show’s potential environmental impact ... Key Biscayne leaders have approved the expenditure of more than a half-million dollars of taxpayer money on lawsuits and negative PR to kill the boat show’s move,” Rick-Joule said.

She cited a scientific study of the submerged basin floor, conducted by Coastal Systems International, that found “the majority of the project site was silty sand.”

Last week, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida released poll results showing that Greater Miami residents — even those occupying the Key Biscayne and Virginia Key district — supported the show’s move.

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