June 30, 2017
Margate's mayor stopped short of calling it Beachgate, but he's convinced politics, not schedules and machinery, have led to a plan to have the U.S. Corps of Engineers rebuild dunes over the summer on the beaches of Margate and Longport -- not Ventnor as announced.
Ventnor had embraced the dune-building work, while Margate had fought it, leading to speculation that pouring sand in Margate at the height of the summer was some sort of payback.
"This is BS. But, it is out of our control. We lost battle of political resources. They (Ventnor) had more capital than us," Mayor Michael S. Becker told PhillyVoice Friday. afternoon.
The mayor's BS meter went off because he got an email from an Army Corps commander at 5:33 p.m. Thursday announcing the change. And despite the late hour, Ventnor had the change posted on its website by 6 p.m.
"They knew," said Becker.
The mayor said his and the other communities had attended weekly update meetings and changing the schedule was not once discussed until the late notice Thursday.
"We got screwed, everyone agrees why, but there's not much to be done about it. Margate's resigned," said the mayor.
Margate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had a running battle over the need for dunes, both through testy words, and also in court, where Margate eventually lost.
Ventnor Commissioner Lance Landgraf, who works for the state’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, had confirmed the schedule change for The Press of Atlantic City Thursday evening.
Ventnor had embraced the dune-building work and the Corps had at first said work would begin there.
But an Army Corps spokesman has told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the schedule changes were tied to available equipment and differences in the way hopper dredges and pipeline dredges function.
The mayor of Longport was also not immediately available. But an employee said the borough had no advance warning that the dune schedule was changing.