The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is doing no favors for the people in Fenwick Island right now.
They finished another scheduled beach replenishment project in New Jersey earlier than planned and moved their sand-moving equipment down to Fenwick. Crews have been working on the beach all week. That’s not a bad thing, if you just look at it on the surface. The beaches were ravaged by the nor’easters that swept through the area in November of 2009, and the beach in Fenwick Island needed help.
The timing stinks. This area, particularly our beach towns, enjoy a few short months of an economic boon each year — and we are smack dab in the middle of it right now. Though we’d like to argue that the economic uptick this area enjoys each summer is because of people coming to the area to read the Coastal Point, we’d have to agree that the true draw is the beach.
And it’s not as strong a draw if it’s dotted with huge equipment shooting sand everywhere.
There are numerous renters in this area over the summer months, and Fenwick has as many as any of our local towns. A good amount of those people rent at the beach for one or two weeks every summer for vacation, and if the beach is unsightly or unusable, it dampens their trips. If they don’t enjoy their annual vacation here, even one time, they might not be back. People have options.
Fenwick Island Town Manager Win Abbott wrote a letter to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), where he discussed the town’s problems with the replenishment project taking place right now.
“If the long-term economic vitality of the Quiet Resorts is really driving this project, commencement during the peak of tourist season is truly counter-productive,” wrote Abbott.
He is absolutely right. Labor Day is only about four weeks away. Why not start then? Two weeks from now would even be more palatable, as the second part of August is always less crowded because college-age students return to their campuses.
Look, we are happy that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on the beach in Fenwick Island. It needs help. And we’re even impressed that they finished their last job early and are eager to get going on this one.
But their efforts come at a very bad time for Fenwick Island, and all the surrounding areas that benefit from their vacationers.