WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Carolina Beach residents sounded off on their reactions to proposed restrictions to Freeman Park in an open town council meeting Wednesday night.
Several proposals that seek to stop beach erosion on Freeman Park included scaling back camping and campfires to only the tourist off-season. Another proposal was to remove the sale of annual passes entirely, while only allowing daily passes. Local businesses became concerned that this action would dissuade locals from using the beach, resulting in less customers.
Dean Embler is the owner of Sun Fun Rentals, the only Jeep rental business in the area that also sells camping supplies. He says that either of those proposals would hurt his business, taking as much as 20 percent of his revenue.
“I’d have to lower my prices of Jeep rentals and then my customers would have to wait in line, whether they actually get on the beach or not would be questionable so it would be difficult to rent a Jeep to a tourist,” Embler said.
James Mathis is the Vice President of the Carolina Beach Jeep Go Topless Day, an event that brings over a thousand people to Carolina Beach. While he will likely have to cancel the event in 2020 due to the beach erosion, he pointed out the importance of Freeman Park’s continuing health.
“The beach is important to us, not only for our event, but for our personal enjoyment and I mean, I have a 3-year-old to continue to be able to enjoy it," Mathis said.
Town council members reacted positively to the comments made by local residents and communicated that they planned to vote against the proposed restrictions.