Beach renourishment makes our beaches beautiful and whole again. It’s the process by which new sand is brought up from the Gulf to replace the lost sand on our beaches. That is an oversimplification of course. The end result is beautiful but the process is not. Our beaches will be under major construction with large and noisy dredging equipment spread throughout the area. At night they will work by spotlight and the noise will invariably cause people to lose sleep, disrupting their once envisioned idyllic vacation hiatus. Sea Turtles will be in danger.
But the real danger will be to our economy. And it may end up being more damaging than the BP Oil Spill of 2010. We have found our way back up to the top after the oil spill – five years later. And now we are going to take another shot, all for the sake of saving $1 million. That’s right. The wisest of councils or commissioners in this case, have decided that we should have beach renourishment during our high tourism season. The revenue on the line could be $10 million. Some say it could go as high as $30 million.
Here is what the South End Tourist Development Council sent to the Board of County Commissioners:
The timing of beach restoration during the spring and summer tourism season was discussed at length at today’s South End Tourism meeting. Many of Navarre’s tourism stakeholders were present. It was unanimously agreed that the timing of restoration will negatively impact Navarre’s tourism season dramatically.
We foresee at least a 50 percent decrease in business this summer as a result of this planned beach restoration. The economic impact to Navarre’s businesses would be well over $10 million and result in layoffs and loss of jobs for those employed in the hospitality industry. This includes front desk personnel, housekeepers, maintenance personnel and others directly employed by the industry. As a secondary result of the lack of tourists we will see other industries severely impacted including restaurants, grocery stores, golf courses, entertainment establishments and other service industries.
We urge the Board of County Commissioners to do everything possible to delay restoration until after the summer season to ensure that Navarre’s main economic industry (tourism) is protected.
Will they listen? Or will they turn a deaf ear to the bed tax collectors once again in hopes of saving a million or two…only to lose $10 million or more.