Even in Toms River, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, dune-building remains a point of contention. Residents of the Ortley Beach section of that township have staged protests on the boardwalk and at the State House in Trenton, demanding an end to delays of the Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to build a dune from the Manasquan Inlet to Island Beach State Park.
On Wednesday, the Township Council passed another resolution calling on the Army Corps to move ahead using “all available measures,” which may include having the state take property from residents.
“We regard this project as essential for the community’s survival,” said Anthony Merlino, assistant township attorney in Toms River. Reflecting on Hurricane Sandy, he said, “We’ve been lucky in the past three years that while we’re rebuilding and while the dune project is trying to get off the ground that we haven’t had another storm of this nature.”