Area beach-goers planning to hit the waves this Fourth of July weekend can rest easy in one respect. Three Cape Fear-area beaches have fetched high marks on this year’s report card from the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC—an environmental watchdog group that grades beaches based on water quality. Out of 3500 coastal and Great Lakes beaches, only 35 were deemed “superstars”—and this elite grouping counts sections of Wrightsville Beach, Sunset Beach, and Topsail Beach.
The National Flood Insurance Program is working its way out of bankruptcy following Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy--but its plan involves sharp premium increases for coastal property owners. This population includes more than 17,000 North Carolinians--many of whom stand to have their flood insurance rates triple this year. Coastal community leaders are busy voicing their concern to federal and state legislators. To strengthen their argument at the federal level, leaders from communities such as Topsail Beach plan to band together across North and South Carolina’s coast.
Topsail Beach residents will have two mayoral candidates on the ballot next week: incumbent Howard Braxton and Commissioner Buck Taylor.
WHQR’s Michelle Bliss reports both candidates agree that protecting the town’s natural resources with a long-term beach renourishment plan is crucial for attracting tourists, but they suggest different strategies for growing the town’s central business district.