WE ARE who we are…

Posted by JoEl LaBorde | March 25, 2019


As my first blog, I thought it might work best to set the stage for future blogs to come.  For those that don’t know us as our community does, this might be helpful to see what drives our passion, and why we are who we are.

I have found that life’s experiences bring you to the current state…of mind and of physical presence.  I believe we are here in this place and at this time for a reason.  So, with that said, we begin.

WE ARE…family owned and operated.
My family is a large family, very supportive, and very involved.  It’s not surprising, therefore, that my brother, as the owner of Wekiva Island, would also have significant involvement from his family in his business.  We are blessed to have a great staff that works side-by-side with this family of uncles and aunts, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, wives and husbands, and not to mention, lots and lots of kids!  So, suffice it to say, many of the Weinaug clan are represented indeed.  And we are thankful for everyone who is part of our team, and all who comes down to enjoy the Wekiva.

We are a passionate type.  And we have been told….when we love, we love HARD.  When we speak, we speak LOUD.  And when we set out to do something, we UNITE.  So that brings me to my next point…

WE ARE…driven.
This business is driven by our three core pillars – our strategic drivers that forge the pathway for everything we do or dream of doing.  Our first love is the PLANET.  We have committed to an ambitious plan to become the first carbon-neutral business of our type in the Southern U.S.  Our plan is guided by the “2030 Challenge”, an initiative backed by the U.S. Department of Energy that aims to make buildings carbon-neutral by the year 2030.  Our carbon-neutral mission is steered by C.E.R.O. (Conservation, Efficiency, Renewables, and Offsets). 

To further this goal, we now have the approval for the erection of our new Solar Array.  It is expected to reduce our carbon footprint by another 30%, putting the Island’s solar systems total capacity at about 80% of our current power use.  Also, it will offer us the ability to collect rainwater off the roof which will add to our existing rainwater system’s capacities.

The second pillar is LEARNING. Wekiva Island is already home to Seminole County’s only LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified Platinum classroom. The classroom is already used by local businesses, schools and organizations to learn about the Wekiva River and eco-friendly practices.

More to share in the months to come as we build out our learning projects, from school retreats to our learning portal and other initiatives which will broaden our scope and enhance our next and most important mission of sustainability. 

Our third pillar is ART.  We believe in the beauty of the river and the state in which we live, which is deeply connected to our first love – the planet.  Art is embedded in the activities we already offer – from Wine & Paint nights to the annual Wekiva Paint Out, and finally to our upcoming build of the 2nd Floor Art Gallery, which will feature artists from the Annual Wekiva Paint Out.  This gallery will showcase the natural beauty of what is the Wekiva in all its glory!

WE ARE…challenged.
We believe that we are challenged to make a difference while we are here, not for us, but for generations to come.  We care about our beautiful Wekiva River, the water quality, its flow and the health of it for all that it offers to its plant and animal life.  We have removed 95% of the landscaping materials planted by previous owners as well as exotic nuisance vegetation, replacing them with sustainable Florida natives primarily found in the adjacent river bank and nearby buffer zone designed to improve both the ecology and aesthetic of the site and provide educational opportunities throughout the property.  So, we are challenged to make sure that others learn about the importance, join our cause, and take steps together to move it forward.

Our bottom line is we care.  We hope you will too.

JoEl LaBorde
Wants to Make a Difference