Wrightsville Beach Board Of Aldermen Reinstates Surf Zone Committee

As reported on Luminanews.com
By Keith T. Barber

Thursday, March 20, 2008 – Last Thursday, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen voted 4-1 to give more thought and time to the issue of red flag management during a public hearing at the fire station, which drew more than 100 concerned citizens. Originally, town staff requested the council consider eliminating a section of an ordinance that would have prohibited surfing in swim zones under red flag conditions. However, the board decided to reconstitute the surf zone committee to study potentially revising the ordinance.

Mayor Stephen K. Whalen, along with Aldermen Bill Blair, Lisa Weeks and Ed Miastkowski, voted in favor of the measure, while Alderman David Cignotti dissented. Cignotti objected based on his assertion it would be wiser to wait and reconvene the surf zone committee in the fall, giving the town another summer season to evaluate the current ordinance’s policy. The town’s current policy, which governs swim zones and surf zones, was enacted last April. Cignotti said the current policy has worked extremely well, and he can’t fathom a reason for changing something that has received such positive reviews.

“Surfers have been allowed to surf during red flag conditions in this town for the past 30 years,” Cignotti said. “There is no data at all that says it’s a safety concern. I received 41 e-mails on this — 39 were against (changing the ordinance), two were for. … I’m not sure why we’re spending all this time and energy when we have a lot of serious issues for the town to be dealing with.”

All but one public speaker at last Thursday’s hearing echoed Cignotti’s sentiments.

“Where did this come from? How did we get here? How did we divide our community this way?” Tony Butler, managing partner of Sweetwater Surf Shop, asked. Nevertheless, Butler characterized reconvening the surf zone committee as “a huge step in the right direction” and praised the council’s wisdom in calling upon concerned citizens to share their ideas on the issue.

For the full article check out Luminanews.com