MARGATE – The new sand dune under the Margate fishing pier on Exeter Avenue has rendered the pier practically unfishable. At 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25, there was no water under the pier.
A representative of the Anglers Club of Absecon Island was at a loss to say what the club would do about it.
“This is in flux right now,” club president Bob Pludo said. “We’re just not sure what we are going to do.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently conducting a berm and dune construction project in Margate as part of the Absecon Island Shore Protection Project. The $63.3 million project being completed by Weeks Marine, Inc. of Cranford involves the hydraulic placement of approximately 2.9 million cubic yards of beachfill along the Atlantic Ocean coastline in Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate City and Longport Borough. Work is currently ongoing in Atlantic City. The Margate portion between the city border at Fredericksburg Avenue and Exeter Avenue started on July 5. When that portion is completed, the work will “roll” south to Longport in 1,000-foot increments, and commence in Ventnor late August to early September.
The pier, a nonprofit group founded by H. William Shaner in 1923, is privately owned and members pay a fee to join and an annual fee to maintain the pier.
According to a representative of the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection, the state worked out a financial settlement with the club, but Pludo said he is not sure if it’s enough money to extend the pier.
“The state was obligated to work out a mutually-agreed upon financial settlement to put the property owners back in the position they were prior to the project, in regards to having a pier that extends out over the water. It’s up to the pier owner if to use the settlement to extend the pier,” DEP spokesman Bob Considine said in an email to The Current.
The angler’s club received $292,000 for the loss of the use of the pier.
Plans show the toe of the slope of sand to the water is beyond the end of the pier. At low tide there is no water under the pier, but some of the sand could wash away through the next winter, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“The pier will be initially covered by the construction template, but the end will be in the water after an initial adjustment period,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Stephen Rochette said in an email to The Current. “The end of the construction profile gets reworked, sometimes rather quickly, by Mother Nature.”
Pludo said he believes there will be some water under the pier as time goes by.
“Not as much as we had before, but it should be enough and we really have to wait until what is deposited settles down,” Pludo said.
If 40 percent of the sand under the pier washes away as some experts predict, it will be “40 percent better for us,” Pludo said.
As far as extending the pier goes, Pludo said the club has no idea how much that would cost or how far the pier should be extended.
“It is what it is until this thing plays out. We will just have to deal with it,” he said.
Pludo said Anglers Club board members would discuss the situation at their next meeting on Aug. 5.
The pier was hard hit during Hurricane Sandy, which caused about $100,000 in damage that had to be paid for by the club, with no assistance from any state or federal agencies, according to a 2014 report in The Press of Atlantic City.