North Myrtle Beach leaders discuss congestion at Cherry Grove boat launches
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Members of North Myrtle Beach City Council agree it is time for vessel traffic at Cherry Grove boat launches to be brought under control.
Leaders held a workshop on Wednesday to brainstorm solutions to address the issue, but some disagreed on the exact issue.
While some have agreed that the congestion has gotten out of hand, others seem to think it is the kayak companies themselves that are causing the problems. The way they operate, the size of the groups, where they park, which led to the discussion as to whether or not they should be allowed to use the city’s public ramp.
“A lot of the perceptions people see, they’re making assumptions about things that just aren’t true,” said Justin Summerall, co-owner of J&L Kayaks. “We can come here today and present our side of the story and let them know that we are not doing some of the things that they say we are doing.”
Companies like J&L Kayaks and Glass Bottom Kayak Tours claim to have invested their own money in maintaining the ramp, staggering their groups at different times, and never taking more than 10 people out on the water. Both said safety was their top priority.
Homeowners along the canal, however, are unhappy with the increasing number of kayaks on the water and near their homes. They claim that it continues to grow each year, affecting their navigation and increasing congestion.
“It’s just all day, every weekend, most days in the summer, so it’s really sad to see and there is also no organization at all, the kayaks take up all of the disembarkation.” said Laura Wood, who lives in Cherry Grove Zone.
Council members proposed several potential solutions, such as requiring kayak companies to transport people by van to the ramp location, signing a lease by the companies and even having the company present. ‘a ramp attendant charging a small fee to use it.
North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley says she wants a solution by next summer and encourages kayak companies and owners to come up with solutions.
“What I’m hearing is that we don’t all want to get rid of the kayaks, but we want to master it more, ”Hatley said.
The city manager said a second ramp will be built by May 2022 near the minor canal in Cherry Grove. While this ramp is for loading and unloading, the city hopes it can also be used for kayaks and boaters. The city council will organize another workshop in close functionality.
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