VENTNOR, N.J. - City officials in Ventnor, New Jersey are decrying a terrible case of bad timing, and they're outraged.
This is all about replenishing Ventnor's beaches, and the way it's coming down it could cost Ventnor a lot of money in lost revenue.
"This is going to hurt us. It's going to hurt the businesses, it's going to hurt the residents and it just seems unfair," said Ventnor's Mayor Beth Holtzman.
Ventnor officials and residents gathered near the fishing pier Thursday to blast the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP has notified the city its portion of the $63 million dune and beach replenishment project will begin June 8, right in the middle of the summer season.
"We've been told all along that their process was going to happen in late August into September. We planned for that," said Ventnor City Commissioner Lance Landgraf.
Commissioners say the massive pipelines and equipment that will line the beach, working 24 hours a day, will disrupt the all-important tourist season.
"Everyone, from realtors to restaurants, rely on the beach being open and active," said Ventnor City Commissioner Tim Kriebel.
The city posted a note on Facebook telling the DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers that its beaches are not available for the dune work until after Labor Day.
But the DEP isn't budging, saying: "The project will move forward as scheduled and as expeditiously as possible. Every effort will be made to minimize impacts to residents, visitors and business."
"It ruins the enjoyment of the beach. Even if they're not drilling here, the pipes run down the beach. They shoot out like they spring leaks," said resident Helen Lazar.
"Ventnor is a struggling town, let's face it. Each week that this is done on the beach in season it will adversely impact businesses," said Tony Jewell, Summer Camp sponsor.
Robert Lukasiewicz sells ice cream on Ventnor's beach.
"If people go two miles that way then their money isn't going to be where I work," said Lukasiewicz.
Officials have a face-to-face meeting with the DEP Friday morning, but knowing the state will not change the schedule, the best they're hoping for is that the project can work around events planned on the beach this summer.
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