Christie: Strong Dunes Save Lives, Rebuilding Them Will Employ New Jerseyans

Christie Visit to Bradley Beach focuses on importance of dunes, employment grants

With the whir of front loaders and bulldozers pushing sand on the beachfront behind him, Gov. Chris Christie today pointed to rebuilding an aggressive dune system as perhaps the most important step in restoring and safeguarding tourism, property and residents' lives along the Jersey Shore.

After surveying the rebuilding of dunes flattened by Hurricane Sandy, Christie outlined how state grants for post-disaster employment needs were directly rebuilding the beachfront of Bradley Beach. Here, 12 workers were the beneficiaries of the National Emergency Grant, secured in the days following Hurricane Sandy.

Christie said the grants had put 428 to work in 11 hurricane-ravaged towns statewide, with 658 more to be employed through state Department of Labor programs.

The governor's visit to Bradley Beach, a town Christie said was saved from widespread Sandy damage thanks to its dune system, was on Monday morning for the twin purpose of discussing the importance of rebuilding dunes and also to announce continued employment and training grants which could aid the Jersey Shore's rebuilding.

'We need to rebuild an aggressive dune system'

Christie said the stories of oceanfront devastation vary widely throughout the Jersey Shore, but that dune-protected areas fared better.

Nearly every shorefront community should be planning an "aggressive dune system," Christie told a crowd of about 100 local officials, residents and media on Ocean Avenue Monday.

"The work being done, from sand sifting to sand moving to dune building to bulkhead building is essential," said the governor.

The Army Corps of Engineers would have a large part in the dune restoration process, especially if a federal bill for Sandy aid passed tomorrow. Plans for dune work were already approved for Sandy Hook to Harvey Cedars, Christie said.

"The Army Corps of Engineers have already authorized it; they just need the funding to be approved for it," Christie said.

Christie had strong words for private beachfront associations and landowners hesitant to grant easements or who are otherwise continuing to investigate dune building on their property.

"There should be no debate," said the governor. "They are being extremely selfish and shortsighted."

The dunes should be protecting the shore, and that is more important than an individual's concern, he said, and the state would look into how to ensure the battle over dunes is won.

"They're putting people's lives and property at risk because they want to have a better view," he said.

Christie: Dept. of Labor programs will spur employment

The day after Sandy hit, state Labor Commissioner Harold J. Wirths worked to secure $15.6 million in National Employment Grant funds to work on the cleanup and rebuilding jobs initiative.

Today's press conference outlined how three state labor programs — Recovery4Jersey, Skills4Jersey and Opportunity4Jersey — will create jobs, train and update skills, and seek out employers looking for skilled workers, all specifically to aid employment sectors impacted and in demand after Hurricane Sandy.

Whether it is a national utility company or a mom-and-pop restaurant, these programs are available for employers undertaking the rebuilding and restoration work, Christie said.

Two hundred employers have applied for the grants so far in the first round of funding. Another deadline for employers is January 18.

"This is really good news about their willingness to invest in the state," Christie said of the companies awarded approximately $26 million in grants.

Four months until Memorial Day

Bradley Beach Mayor Gary Engelstad invited Christie to Memorial Day along the beachfront, to see how far they've come.

"There are four months until Memorial Day," said the mayor. "We've got a great story to tell."

The story must be told, Christie said, to spur tourism to areas that are "Open for Business."

"If they know the beaches are ready, they will come," the governor said of tourists.

Wendie February 26, 2013 at 02:38 AM
It doesn't sound like a lot of you know the science behind the dunes working. They aren't the only solution and they cause their own problems. Where do you think all the sand that's now in the bay came from? Lots of other places have these problems and do way more sophisticated mitigation (Holland, Japan, Louisiana to name a few). ray w. isn't the only one who won't come to the shore to spend money to look at a huge pile of sand - there're plenty of other places to go. I find it really unfortunate that so many people on the Patch feel like they have to throw their barrier island neighbors under the bus. We're in this together. By the way, there are PLENTY of places your tax money funds that you don't have "free and unfettered access" to - F-cove comes to mind, among others. Also, if any of you would bother to read the Biggert Waters Act, which is going to wipe out the middle class in NJ, destroy the Jersey Shore as we know it, and essentially create the greatest tax increase in history, you would know that "beach nourishment" is not approved for hazard mitigation. Get your shit together, Jersey. Or the party is over. And no - I don't live on the island. I have 1000 sq. ft bungalow in Brick and I am hosed.
Marc April 03, 2013 at 01:44 AM
As a 6th grade student at East Dover Elementary School inI 1982 we took a class trip to IBSP and planted Dune Grass with a man named Mr Dougherty , that was a man with a vision
foggyworld April 29, 2013 at 07:39 PM
The dunes at Island Beach State Park were not 25' high nor were they maintained. But while the Governor supports putting up those needed dunes, for some reason - like maybe his summer mansion view would be blocked - he has excluded that six miles from the program. It is bound to have a negative effect on the Back Bay areas as the lack of dunes did throughout Sandy.
educatedsmallbizowner May 21, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Great Christie, So now you can have more illegals taking the blue collar jobs away.. Unions will never forget you having the DCA (Department of corrupt consumer affairs) not fine any (even though they recieved summonses) of those non union construction companies that hired illegal aliens that did not pay payroll tax (to include health care tax) that were used to mop out the Fat Rich Boys cronies homes along the shore. Thios epoor illegals were not given proper protective devices or breathing aparatus... , The owners of these companies did not have to have proper registrations and insurance either!. Christie is the epicenter of Fraud and Only for the rich in NJ... Oh yeah and he loves to suppress the poor it is quite obvious by his actions while in "POWER" ... But not for long.... I am not pro Dem or Rep. Just looking to squeeze out the corrupt wealthy off my sweat to create an equal playing for all.... OK sorry I believe this is still America and I am not going to let the politicians give it away to INDIA ansd CHINA for there own agenda.. Oh do you not feel good over 1400 people (many children) in India died in an faulty factoryu for making clothes to be sold in AMERICA... We cry about the 50+ killed by a tornado? Polliticans are killing way more because of there greed!!
Peter W Bennett July 02, 2013 at 09:38 PM
check out the photos of the design failure of dune construction I posted at https://www.facebook.com/peter.w.bennett.96. scroll down a bit. There's breach in the dunes at the end of the street to allow beach goers easy access. The new dune restoration plan should address this!


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