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Debate rages on in Topsail Beach


Some Topsail Beach residents worry their town is in danger; under attack from constant erosion. Even on the beach between low and high tide there’s still not much sand to work with. They have lost so much over the years that at high tide the beach is almost unusable.

Topsail Beach Mayor Howard Braxton said, “It doesn’t give us the beach, we don’t have a lot of beach at high tide now. And so, tourists coming in have nowhere to go when it’s a high tide. We have had some complaints there, what’s happened to your beach?”

The price tag on a proposal to replenish the shores of Topsail Beach, at least temporarily, is over $12 million. That proposal was dealt a blow at Wednesday night’s town meeting, when the Shoreline Protection Committee overseeing the project was dis-banded.

Even if the town eventually goes ahead with the renourishment project, not everyone is convinced it will help. Barrier islands are meant to move, but homes and condos are not. Cape Fear coastkeeper Mike Giles said renourishment is only a temporary fix.

“Building in areas near inlets is very, very dangerous. The public shouldn’t pay for those mistakes. The state and towns and local governments need to work together to develop a strategy to dissuade building on our high erosion beaches,” said Giles.

Whether bringing in more sand is the answer is still up for debate at many area beaches, and right now, it’s at top of mind on Topsail Beach.

“It is not dead. It’s at a standstill right now, and I think January 2nd, the roundtable discussion, will either make or break it,” added Braxton.

More than 8 of the $12 million needed for the project has already been raised by the town. If renourishment does get shot down; that money would sit in an account set aside specifically for beach nourishment. It can’t be used for any other purpose.

Those concerned about the project are encouraged to attend the next hearing on January 2nd, in Topsail Beach.

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Story summary

videoA meeting that went late into the night dealt a blow to those hoping for more sand. Residents and homeowners at the beach are begging for more sand, but it comes at a heavy price.

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Associated poll

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