Members of the Fenwick Island Town Council chatted with residents Saturday, July 23, at the annual assembly of the Fenwick Island Society of Homeowners (FISH).
FISH traditionally uses the meeting to introduce residents to that year’s candidates for town council. But no new candidates materialized this year, so the town cancelled its elections. The gathering Saturday, therefore, became a forum for meeting incumbents.
Councilman Theodore Brans, who has been on the council for almost seven years, spoke first. Brans discussed his role as chairman of the public safety and beach committees. His greatest accomplishments, Brans said, included leading efforts to hire Tim Ferry as Fenwick Island’s beach patrol captain and Colette Sutherland as chief of police.
“The chief has done a great job. Running a police department is not easy,” he said. “They’re all individuals, and they all want to be treated on an individual basis.”
Councilman Chris Clark raised concerns about light-pollution in Fenwick Island. The head of the community outreach and commercial liaison committees also championed social and entertainment initiatives — such as the Fenwick Freeze, Aquathon and a fishing club — that have been birthed during his two years on the council.
“The commercial liaison is an interesting animal,” Clark said. “The businesses all seem to believe they operate as an individual entity. The challenge is trying to have the businesses work with residents in town.”
Councilwoman Martha Keller urged residents to think provincially about environmental affairs and reminded the audience that Fenwick Island continues to wrestle with density issues.
“No man lives on an island. Well, that’s true of us, too, who live on Fenwick Island,” Keller said. “We must address the dense development which threatens to choke us. Those beautiful natural resources that surround us, but which are outside the town’s boundaries, comprise one of the main reasons most of us live here. Don’t neglect them.”
Councilwoman Audrey Serio rounded out and wrapped up the incumbents’ gathering — council members Harry Haon and Vicki Carmean did not attend. The town treasurer and chairwoman of the public works committee expressed a desire to see Fenwick Island continue its commercial growth.
“We can’t forget that we are a resort town. We are in between resort towns,” she said. “We would love it to be perfect and we would love it to be quiet, but we do have folks that come here to vacation. It’s our job to create a town in that they can come and vacation and feel welcome.”
Mayor Peter Frederick concluded the meeting by briefing FISH members on the beach reconstruction project, slated to start in August.
As for official FISH business, Mary Pat Kyle, the association’s president, announced the addition of Ben Horner to the society’s board. Horner joins Kyle, Vice President Lynn Andrews, Secretary Betsy Henefin, Treasurer Mary Scherff, Paul Buehrle, Marcia Frederick, Nancy Haines and Bill Weistling Jr. — all of whom were reconfirmed for another year.
“The people we have nominated have reluctantly agreed to take the position,” said Buehrle, chairman of the nominating committee, “but feel that it’s time for some new, or maybe fresh, or maybe stale — depending on your hair — ideas and suggestions for FISH.”
Looking forward, FISH members voted to donate $200 to the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company (which serves and has a substation in Fenwick Island), $200 to the Fenwick Island lighthouse and $300 to Marine Education Rehabilitation and Rescue (MERR), which cares for beached sea creatures.