SBTA was not against new bridge

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

To the editor: While your editorial gives a nod of thanks to SBTA and other principals for accepting Judge Flanagan’s ruling, it does an injustice to their intent and efforts.

From beginning to end, SBTA has fought to have a valid and adequate environmental impact assessment that will stand the test of time for the bridge project.

This was often misinterpreted by many as “not wanting a new bridge.” They fought to have this assessment based on science not on politics. My understanding is the “study” we ended up with is based on a bridge design and approach routing that is different from what is actually going to be built.

Once again, your editorial raises the safety issue as “first and foremost” justification for the new bridge. SBTA, as an “opponent” has never been against a safer bridge.

As I have pointed out before, anyone who makes the choice to move to a barrier island on the East Coast for permanent living does so with full knowledge of the dynamic nature of barrier island living and the inherit dangers—including the closing of even high-rise bridges for wind warnings.

Then to turn around and demand the same fire, police, emergency response of the mainland is unfair to other Brunswick County taxpayers. This is asking mainland taxpayers to underwrite the choices of a few.

The implied threat of a “death” on the island because of a bridge is interesting logic. (How many have we had since 1955?) Sooner or later someone will die on this barrier island. People die for all kinds of reasons. SBTA has always been in favor of a safer bridge.

Your editorial states: “We do not believe having a high-rise bridge will change the nature of the island.”

That’s just a remarkably arrogant statement to make. One need only look a few hundred yards to the east to see what a high-rise bridge did to Ocean Isle and then on to Holden Beach. But five, 10, 30, 50 years from now, you won’t be calling it the changed nature of the island, you’ll be calling it “progress.”

But what our grandchildren will be saying is, “What were they thinking?”

In the final analysis, SBTA has always recognized the reality of growth on the island, recognized the need for a safer bridge, recognized the need for public access, recognized the need for responsible stewardship of the environment and natural beauty of Sunset and Bird islands, and has fought to have a bridge design (I have not seen one article or comment on the aesthetics of the new high-rise bridge) that upholds the existing character and charm that has made Sunset so meaningful for so many.

In the end, history will judge better than you or I the choices that were made and the role of politics and developer interests vs. stewardship of our island, its environment and charm, and the impact of so-called progress.

We have a chance to do this right; it’s our (all the people’s) choice.