Representatives from NJ DEP (Dept of Environmental Protection), Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and Stockton University gathered to talk about the state of our Jersey Shore beaches. Poor attendance, but staging the event allowed for the pro-dune, PR machine to rev up. Gotta debunk all that residential anger, ya know.
Speakers were defensive. Awkward. Forced to talk glowingly of dune, dredge and outfall sewer-pipe installations. Margate, Ventnor and other Absecon Island beaches are doing just fine, they claim.
Margate, Ventnor and Longport beaches better than ever?
Beach work saves lives and property? Most Margate and Ventnor homeowners disagree with ACOE & DEP blue sky assessments.
Stockton’s Stu Farrell: you can either hike over the tall dune….or don’t.
Army Corp of Engineers [ACOE] talked about local ‘partnerships’. Cooperation between Fed, State and local leadership. We didn’t see much of that.
In Ventnor, Commisioner Lance Landgraf is forced to always defend the State’s wishes. He has to. Landgraf’s full time job is at the state run CRDA, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
In Margate, commissioners say they have no real seat at the table. They’ve been neutered. Compelled to sign away Margate’s beaches to insiders from Trenton. Cashing in, while serving up payback. Brutal, financial revenge on Margate. From the same man who brought you the George Washington Bridge scandal. 50 years of sand pumping.
Stuff like this is why the ‘Margate Homeowners Association’ and ‘Friends Of The Margate Boardwalk’ were formed. Groups like these aim for more transparency. A higher standard of accountability from community leaders.
Summer visitors somewhat rattled when seeing these new beaches for first time. Tempers rising. Confusion. Disappointment.
‘Beach replenishment and dune building. Just a way for politicians to spend all that Hurricane Sandy Relief money’ said a 26 year, Margate resident. ‘Protect lives and property? Yeah right. Push around sand for the next 50 years and cash-in.’
48-inch sewer pipes dumping into the Margate surf. What are we draining? The Colorado River? Geez.
Extra-large, 48-inch sewer pipes were mandatory. So says the Army Corp & DEP. Accusations of un-needed heft, complexity and drainage capacity, bolted onto 5 of Margate’s dramatically different beaches.
The beach ‘overbuild’ allowed for Hurricane Sandy dollars to flow. Spare no expense. Make a mistake? No worries. Start over. Taxpayer blank check babee.
- A 50-year bad deal.
- Cutting the beach in half. Reducing usable beach by over 50%.
- Building ridiculously sized, sand dunes. Industrializing our beaches.
Money originates from Congress. Congressman Frank Lobiondo takes full credit for tapping that piggy bank. Woo-hoo. Too bad. Funds poorly allocated. Expensive, one-size-fits-all duneboggle. Crank out invoices. Cha-ching.
Getting paid per cubic yard of sand pumped. Strip-mining of surf bottom.
Make work. Over spend. Burn dollars. Thank Frank.
Um…. where are those ‘Sustainable Downbeach’ peeps? Not interested in environmental chaos? Sound of crickets from local green teams. #SustainableFail.
Over-sized, expensive tools and tactics. Big stuff had to be used. That’s how they got the big money. Oh… and they’ll try to protect against a rare, 100 year storm too. That’s what the Army Corp and DEP say.
Beaches are unrecognizable, difficult to access and unsightly. Read report from Amy Rosenberg and Philly.com
DEP’s David Rosenblatt says beaches and surrounding community are better protected. Rosenblatt talked about 5 sewer pipes in Margate that will drain directly from street ends to surf. Two already installed.
Rosenblatt: 48 inch sewer pipes & 14 ft dunes were needed.
State & Feds claim Margate had a horrible storm water problem. Locals say that’s complete B.S.
The occasional drainage issue was easily taken care of via ‘trenching’. Creation of temporary drainage paths to the ocean. Trenching was not only cheaper, it was more environmentally sound. It was approved by NJ State for decades.
- BAD: The new street-end storm sewers concentrate contaminated water directly into bathing areas.
- GOOD: The ‘trenching’ method of drainage filters contaminated storm run-off into the sand. A natural scrubber of dirty water.
ACOE & DEP Panelists shrugged off / ignored accusations of:
- Blocking million dollar ocean views.
- Poor beach access for disabled. Non-ADA compliant.
- Contaminated bathing areas.
- Negative affects on Real Estate valuations and taxes.
- Ignoring local input. Lack of cooperation.
- One-Size-Fits-All beach project. Flawed strategy from beginning.
- Unsightly, over-sized, dangerous sewer pipes along surf.
- Poor use of taxpayer funds. Does nothing to reduce main culprit: back bay surge.
- Getting some reports of impacted beachfront, Real Estate sales in Margate. Homes most directly affected by dune work.
- Flood insurance rates did NOT decline once dunes were built.
- 99% of Hurricane Sandy insurance claims came from back-bay damaged homes.
Stew Farrell of Stockton Coastal Research: dunes make it tough for elderly and disabled.
That’s why a growing group of Margate residents want to rebuild their boardwalk. This would solve the ADA access problem. A boardwalk would once again allow Margations to enjoy waterviews.
Jewish Exponent: The dunes have stretched out beachgoers’ commutes, forcing visitors to walk up and down the structure to reach the sand. It’s been derided as a possible deterrent for disabled people and seniors. According to the Census Bureau, 38.4 percent of Margate’s population is aged 65 years and older. “I don’t go to the beach as much because it’s a whole big production,” Maxine Garfinkle said.
Margate Mayor Michael Becker said beach tag sales are down 2 percent from last summer. He labeled the downtick an “insignificant” number and insisted many residents’ outlook on the beach situation has improved. “People have been on the beach since Memorial Day. The majority of them are coming away with satisfactory comments.”
Read More in Jewish Exponent
Ventnor Dunes To Be Widened Naturally
In Ventnor, the State of NJ took over another chunk of beach. Twenty feet on the water side of the dune. Just north of the Ventnor Fishing Pier, thru Jackson Ave. Portions of Ventnor beach will be cordoned off in a project they hope will widen the dune over time.
During the recent Commissioner meeting, Landgraf squirmed as he shared news of how NJ DEP was going to enlarge (widen) the dune system even more. By at least 20 feet.
Other towns will wait. But Landgraf said Ventnor should ‘get ahead of the issue’, embrace the NJ DEP action. No beach raking will occur within this space. No sitting or walking either.
Note: Ventnor & Atlantic City dune grass accomplished it’s mission: make the dunes taller. Much taller. In some cases, close to 20 ft high. A little more protection that comes with nasty cost: No breezes. No views. Loss of ratables.
Keith Watson of the Army Corps of Engineers says outfall sewer pipes [that funnel contaminated street water directly into the surf] are common in Jersey.
Rosenblatt admitted that chronic back bay flooding did most of the Hurricane Sandy damage.
WTF. Wildwood Needs More Sand?
The Army Corps will try to force dunes on Mayor Ernie Troiano in Wildwood. Whether he needs it or not. Just watch. Wildwood gonna fight back. Ernie is a Mayor with cahones.
It’s a 15 freekin’ minute walk to reach the surf in Wildwood. Crazy.
More talk of constructing a new Margate Boardwalk, extending Ventnor’s wooden walkway. See ‘Friends of the Margate Boardwalk‘.
The newly formed, Margate Homeowners Association is also ramping up. Both orgs are chiming in on these types of issues.