This CoastLine Candidate Forum of 2015 features the candidates for Oak Island Town Council.  Due to the size of this race, we allotted two hours, with a short break at the top of the hour, so that you can hear the candidates discuss a broader range of issues.  

Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR

This November, voters will choose from eight candidates to fill three open seats on Wilmington City Council. At the candidate forum hosted by Residents of Old Wilmington and the Downtown Business Alliance, the candidates discussed local transportation issues.   

Alvin Rogers has served on the Wilmington Planning Commission. He remembers when Oleander Drive was just a two lane road, and he thinks transportation has become a problem throughout Wilmington. 

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management / T. J. Boyle and Associates

While still years away, offshore wind farms are significantly closer to becoming reality off the North Carolina coast.  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management recently completed its environmental assessment and will hold a Task Force meeting October 7th in Wilmington to consider next steps.  Two of the areas slated for wind are near the southeastern North Carolina coast. 

Wikimedia Commons

This summer, shark bites brought national attention to North Carolina beaches. Two young people lost parts of their arms to sharks while swimming near Oak Island. During this week’s CoastLine Candidate Forum, all Oak Island Mayoral candidates agreed that more needs to be done to lower the risk of shark attacks. 

All four mayoral candidates say this summer’s shark bites were a wakeup call for Oak Island. Cin Brochure, the current Tourism Director for the City of Southport, says the issue has been on her mind since she lives near one of the sites: 

Okko Pyykkö

Four people are vying for the mayoral seat in the Town of Oak Island.  This Brunswick County coastal town sits largely on a barrier island and has a year-round population of nearly seven-thousand people.  That number more than quintuples during the busy summer season. 

During a recent CoastLine Candidate Forum, all four candidates said they think transparency in government is critical.  But they didn’t all agree on whether the current government is adequately open or on how to improve transparency. 

In the Town of Oak Island, four people are hoping to be the next Mayor.  The office comes with a two-year term; Town Council members serve staggered four-year terms and are elected every two years in non-partisan elections.

The Town of Oak Island, which is part of Brunswick County and sits mostly on a barrier island, is only sixteen years old.  It was 1999 that Yaupon Beach and Long Beach merged to form Oak Island.  The town boasts a year-round population of nearly 7,000 people – but that number can swell during the summer on a daily basis to around 45,000. 

New Law Aims to Deter Venus Flytrap Poaching: Is It Working?

Sep 22, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

The cottage industry of Venus flytrap poaching has long threatened this iconic carnivorous plant of southeastern North Carolina. The crime used to be a misdemeanor, but at the start of this year, it became a felony, with a maximum penalty of up to 25 months in jail. As the first felony cases wrap up in Pender County, WHQR investigates whether the change in the law is working to deter poaching.

Venus flytraps are considered a species of concern, meaning the population is in decline and in need of conservation . Flytrap poaching runs counter to such preservation efforts.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

New Hanover County collected more than ten million dollars in room occupancy tax during the last fiscal year.  But officials in Kure Beach aren’t convinced that all property owners who rent on a short-term basis are sending their share to the County. 

At a recent CoastLine Candidate Forum for Kure Beach, held September 16th in WHQR's MC Erny Gallery, everyone agreed the status quo isn’t working.    

New Hanover County ranked 8th last year for tourism out of all 100 counties in North Carolina.   

Pier at Kure Beach
Visit Kure Beach NC (http://www.visitkurebeachnc.com/)

Without the assurance of federal money, funding beach nourishment and shoreline stabilization is one of the most critical issues facing beach towns.  During the first CoastLine Candidate Forum of 2015, all Kure Beach Mayoral and Town Council candidates agreed on one thing: New Hanover County needs to contribute more toward beach nourishment. 

Mayor Dean Lambeth says that he doesn’t think federal funding for beach nourishment will disappear any time soon, but he does want the county to contribute more:

Seismic testing and the potential for offshore drilling has galvanized strong opposition in Kure Beach.  Earlier this year, Mayor Dean Lambeth ignited controversy after he sent a letter in support of seismic testing to the Federal agency overseeing offshore oil exploration.  Hundreds of opponents showed up to protest at the next Kure Beach Town meeting in January.