Fire Island in Danger

By Cody Prawicka

It was brought upon the Islip Town Council to determine the possible fate of  Fair Harbor, Fire Island and other towns on Mar. 5.

Dave Jenner, Town Engineer, brought about the topic of trying to have the Supervisor enter into contract with J.M. Nassau-Suffolk Landscape Company to help rebuild the sand dunes of Fair Harbor as well as some other counties on Fire Island. It was the mission of Jenner to lay down sand bags along the beaches of Fire Island in order to fortify the dunes that were initially destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. It would cost around $80,000 to lay the bags on the beaches per county, giving the
total amount of money spent around $800,000.

In a quick interview before the meeting this is what Jenner had to say on the topic, “My main goal is to help protect Fire Island and its residents. Sandy literally has wiped away the dunes and unless they are rebuilt quickly this next Nor’Easter could destroy the island.” However as the meeting began and Jenner explained his case, Councilman John Cochrane Jr, and resident of Fire Island began to raise his voice and cut off Jenner in the middle of his explanation. In order for this contract and
order to be carried out, the main concern would be how the Army Core of Engineers would take this.

Councilman John Cochrane Jr had this to say about the idea, “The Army Core runs everything when it comes to the beaches, my
main concern is if we followed out with this order and laid the bags on the beaches, come October when the Core comes to add to the dunes there is a possibility that they will remove the bags and we would have wasted money that we cannot afford to waste.”

Council woman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt agreed with the concern that Councilman Cochrane made by saying, ” It seems like a
risky move to lay sand bags on the beaches, when we don’t know if they will only be removed a couple of months later, it can either pay off or hurt us.” Eventually after Cochrane was asked to stop interrupting Jenner the Council made a compromise that if this project was brought to the attention of the Army Core, and if the Core agreed that they would not remove the sand bags on the beach, then the Council and Supervisor would happily sign the a contract between the
Supervisor and the landscaping company.

The J.M. Nassau-Suffolk Landscaping Company is planning to lay down the sandbags by the end of March, however if the Army Core denies them the right to put the bags on the beaches, then most of Fire Island and its residents will have to deal with no sand dunes for protection till October of this year. This project seems that it will carry on till there is a final resolution in the best interest of the town.

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