Dear Mayor Hatley:
We have been coming to North Myrtle Beach for more than 40 years and own a vacation home in the Cherry Grove section. We enjoy the beach and all of the amenities offered by the area. Over the years we have been constantly amazed at some of the decisions made either by Myrtle Beach or North Myrtle Beach from time to time that affect the goodwill of the tourists who make the economy what it is for the Grand Strand, e.g. the decision to curtail activities associated with bike week (I am not a biker). And now, the TV stations are reporting that the North Myrtle Beach City Council will likely ban tents/umbrellas from use on the beach beginning Sept. 15. How can you and your fellow council members consider such a prohibition that will affect such a large number of the folks who support your local economy and help to make the area what it is?
I have made a point to look up and down the beach since I first heard about this possible prohibition, and I cannot see a problem with lifeguards seeing what they need to see up and down the beach, not if they are doing their job properly. And what are the number of occurrences where tents and umbrellas have obstructed the path of emergency vehicles on the beach? There are numerous persons, particularly of an elderly age, who will not be able to enjoy the beach without the use of tents or umbrellas. And what about families large and small who gather under the tents for a common purpose to socialize? And how about those who bring their young children to beach and don't want them exposed to the sun for an extended period of time but can't just run back to the house?
You will do unbelievable harm to tourists in terms of goodwill if you move forward with the intended ban. At least in parts of Myrtle Beach, umbrellas for a fee are provided by the beach services for those who wish to purchase them for the day. Does North Myrtle Beach intend to offer the same if personal tents and umbrellas are banned from the beach? And how do you intend to notify everyone for the next summer season that they can no longer bring their tents/umbrellas to the beach - let them put up the tent and then a lifeguard comes along to tell them it has to be taken down? Can you only imagine how angry people will be if this comes to pass? I don't have a tent so it is not an issue for me, but I did take notice of the people who do.
Please reconsider where the council is headed with such a ridiculous ban. I implore you to give careful and deliberate consideration how tourists have supported your economy, the taxes we pay as nonresidents and all the years of goodwill you destroy if you move forward with banning personal tents/umbrellas. Wouldn't you like to have those persons who visited the Grand Strand for the first time this year from the Gulf area to return next year because of what they discovered this year? I just want to believe that there are more important things that need to be debated by the council.
Thank you for your service to North Myrtle Beach.
The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.