Kure Beach Candidates Call for New Hanover County to Support Beach Nourishment
Without the assurance of federal money, funding beach nourishment and shoreline stabilization is one of the most critical issues facing beach towns. During the first CoastLine Candidate Forum of 2015, all Kure Beach Mayoral and Town Council candidates agreed on one thing: New Hanover County needs to contribute more toward beach nourishment.
Mayor Dean Lambeth says that he doesn’t think federal funding for beach nourishment will disappear any time soon, but he does want the county to contribute more:
"The county, of course, contributes nothing. They actually take part of the salaries for three employees of the county out of the beach nourishment funds. What we’re trying to do, we’ve put a coalition of the beach clerk from Kure Beach and the two town managers of Wrightsville Beach to actually start working with the county and try to get a funding stream to start some beach renourishment."
Lambeth’s challenger, current Commissioner Emilie Swearingen, agrees that the county needs to step up and dedicate part of their budget toward beach nourishment.
Commissioner David Heglar says it’s only fair for county support to be proportional to the economic benefits that the beaches provide:
"If you look at the driver for the economy in New Hanover County, a large portion of that is the beaches. If you look at studies from UNCW, that drives our economy. I think all of the beach towns would say, if it’s that big of a driver, we need the help of the county."
First-time Town Council candidate Joseph Whitley agrees. He says it’s important to work with the other beach towns and the county to ensure funding for beach nourishment.