COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) – While there are a lot of people against the possible port to come to Southport, economic development projects are at risk of failure without the new port.
The International Logistics Park between Brunswick and Columbus Counties is supposed to bring jobs to the area, but the director of economic development in Columbus County is concerned because so many people have come out against the proposed port.
"We' ve got major companies looking seriously at the new park," said Director Gary Lanier. "They're trying to narrow it down between two sites, and would employ well over a thousand of people. Those companies are now hesitant to come."
Councils in Southport and Bald Head Island and Congressman Mike McIntyre want to know how the port will be paid for and what will happen to the quality of life.
"We need to focus on positive job opportunities like we have at the current Wilmington port," said McIntyre.
According to Lanier, more and more companies are getting larger ships, but Wilmington's port is in the river and won't be able to handle those sized ships in the future. He says the new port would be able to handle the load because Southport is off the ocean.
Lanier and other elected officials in Columbus County believe the entire state would start losing freight to Savannah, Norfolk and Charleston if the port is not built. He wishes people would wait until a study is conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers before they start saying the port is bad for the area.
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