Tempers flare as TDC OKs dredging money for Holiday Isle

OKALOOSA ISLAND — After some of its members angrily blamed a few residents for driving up the cost, the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council on Thursday unanimously approved spending $3.5 million in county bed tax money for the East Pass dredging/beach restoration project.

That expenditure needs final approval of the County Commission, which likely will consider the issue in January. If approved, the project could begin by early March and be completed by early May.

The project calls for the Steve Hooks LLC dredging company of Westlake, Louisiana, to use a city of Destin permit to dredge about 240,000 cubic yards of sand from the East Pass federal navigation channel.

The channel, which was last dredged in 2014, requires maintenance dredging every few years to allow vessels access to the Gulf of Mexico.

For the upcoming project, most of the dredged sand could be placed on two eroded stretches of beach on Holiday Isle.

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