Vote deferred for second time on proposal to build water park next to Zoo Miami

Miami-Dade commissioners chose to defer a vote again on a lease extension for the Miami Wilds water park to be built next to Zoo Miami following public outcry.

“People my age appreciate nature and the future over temporary thrills, such as a water park,” public commenter Shelby Salem said.

The proposed water park was a hot topic Tuesday at the county’s commission meeting yet again after it was deferred at a meeting two weeks ago.

“Vote against building a water park on a habitat of millions of creatures,” one commenter told commissioners.

Zoo Miami Communications Director Ron Magill previously spoke out against the proposal -- not as a county employee, but as a private citizen -- saying he cannot support the Miami Wilds park and that commissioners should end the project.

“There are other options to look at that do not encroach on endangered species, do not take away from their ability to survive,” he said.

On Tuesday, county Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said they are “considering other sites.”

Other commissioners brought up that the item isn’t “fully cooked” enough to be voted on just yet as a federal decision pending over the project created further uncertainty over the resolution for commissioners.

Commissioners ultimately voted to defer the resolution vote one more time.

The developers managing the project say the plan is to build a water park and dining and entertainment area all on what is currently the zoo’s northwest parking lot.

They claim the impacts to the environment by the development have been exaggerated.

“It was a much larger project initially, but (we) have scaled it back in a way to avoid any impacts on the natural areas,” developer Paul Lambert said.

The vote has been deferred until the commission meeting scheduled for Dec. 12. If it gets deferred again, it will automatically be withdrawn and the resolution must be refiled.

About the Author:

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.