City officials meeting with environmental groups for Cherry Gr - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Cherry Grove dredging talks resurface with NMB

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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - North Myrtle Beach city officials will meet with environmental groups in Georgetown this week to try and reach an agreement for a plan to dredge the Cherry Grove Channels.

North Myrtle Beach City Councilman Fred Coyne said the canals in the area have been building up with sediment, plants, and oyster beds for many years.

"Obviously we're picking up more sediment, and we're picking up more and more as time goes on because there's no activity on the water," said Coyne. "Essentially it'll turn into a mudflat behind the homes on the canals so then we'll go from having water at high tide to maybe a little trickle out there like we have a low tide."

Coyne said the dredging conversation first came up several years ago, but he said it's gotten to a point where the lack of water coming through the canals is hurting the local economy.

"The other side of the issue is all the fishing and crabbing," said Coyne. "You cannot do those things on a mudflat, which is essentially what we have now at low tide."

Charl Vanwyk owns a few properties on one of the canals.  He said over the past few years since he bought the property, the amount of interest in renting out his space plummeted.

"When the canal is like this, people don't want to come," said Vanwyk.  "I would love to see it restored to what it is intended to be and what it was made to be originally."

Vanwyk added when he first became interested in the property, he was told the channels and canals would be dredged.

"It's had a big impact," said Vanwyk. "I can't even get enough renters just to pay the tax on this property, so it's definitely having a big impact and it's becoming worse."

When asked what Vanwyk thought about the news ahead of this week's meetings concerning the dredging project, he was not hopeful.

"I'm not very hopeful because it's been going on for a very long time and seems like a struggle between the conservationists and politicians to get this dredged," said Vanwyk. "This is not doing anybody a favor because this canal is coming to the point where it will become a smelly rotten pit, and nothing else."

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