It was a request deserving little consideration and that’s what it essentially got at City Hall this week.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requested the Town of Ocean City consider lifting the long-standing policy of no beach replenishment taking place during the prime months of July and August. The idea was the project could be wrapped up a lot earlier in the calendar year that way if replenishing could start in May and run through the season.
While the city gave the request its due diligence at the staff and elected official level, we presume the proposal to pump during the peak summer months was given little thought behind the scenes. It certainly didn’t merit a lot of consternation.
It’s a no brainer. In many cases, people save their valuable earnings all year to visit Ocean City. July and August are the biggest months of the year from a tourism perspective and it’s the time when most people want to be in Ocean City. Chief among the activities visitors enjoy are the beach and ocean.
The last thing Ocean City should do is disrupt that. The beautiful and clean beach will always be the major draw for visitors. It would inevitably leave visitors with a sour taste and cause irreparable problems for primary and second-home property owners on the coast if they couldn’t hit the beach and swim in the ocean in a convenient fashion during hot weather.
Allowing beach pumping in July and August would also contradict Ocean City’s goal of offering little inconveniences for beach-goers. The city is so cognizant of this that it strategically staggers its surfing beach streets so that an individual street is only inconvenienced once every two to three years.
Beach replenishment is critical to Ocean City’s sustainability as a prime tourist destination. It protects the oceanfront property owners and rebuilds the beach to the level many have come to expect in Ocean City when Mother Nature has other ideas.
Many businesses rely on July and August to provide the revenue needed for the rest of the season and even year in some cases. Jeopardizing the visitor experience during the two most visited months would have been bad business for the town. It’s simply a risk that should not be taken.
Fortunately, the Mayor and Council seem to understand this well and refused to lift the caveat in the contract that prohibits July and August beach replenishment.