CHERRY GROVE, SC (WMBF) – While the city of North Myrtle Beach stands by the fact the dredging of the Cherry Grove canals needed to happen now before it was too late, many residents are saying they still can't get their boats out at low tide.
Some are even looking at costly damage to their sea walls from the dredging.
There's no denying the Cherry Grove waters would turn to a marshland at low tide. After decades of pulling for the permit to do something about it, the city is pleased with the results.
"So we got it all done and we're happy," Patrick Dowling, city spokesman, said.
However, some of the people who live in the neighborhoods are not as thrilled. With the first dredge complete, residents are able to see whether or not it was worth it.
"I'd say no," Tom Hutchens said. "It's just mud."
Resident Linda Eleuteri also counts herself as one who is not happy with the work.
"There's water in the middle, but not where their docks are," she said.
The city defends the dredge.
"It was never a bulk-head-to-bulk-head dredge," Dowling said. "It was 24 feet wide within the property lines, which is where the state channel lies."
Neighbors are also starting to notice some damage left behind.
"Her husband passed away; she's trying to sell her property. The dredger went under the sea wall, dredged right through the sea wall," Eleuteri said.
The cost of the work is something neighbors don't think the city is paying for on top of their initial bill for the dredging to happen in the first place.
"People are paying $2,400 a year for the dredging 10 ten years. That's $24,000," Hutchens said.
A lot of the full-time residents or property owners said they are retired and living on fixed incomes, which doesn't make them any happier about the bill. It has some people wondering who is benefiting from this.
"I mean, maybe the people who come here and fish, they'll get the benefit," Eleuteri said.
While some residents are rubbed the wrong way, none of the members on city council live in the Cherry Grove area or face this issue first-hand.
City officials said the dredging was initially something the residents asked for, and it was certainly a learning experience.
"I'm sure the same is true for the property owner, but generally speaking, we have navigable water at low tide that people can connect to and that's a plus," Dowling said.
The city said while there is a possibility crews will go back in to even out some of the dredging, they were only permitted to get so close to docks on private property.
Dowling said the total cost for the first dredge was about $8.2 million. He added the city put in about $2 million, not counting the several million dollars he said it took the city to get the court backing for the permit to dredge.
According to Dowling, the cost also includes fees to remove the material and meet environmental concerns such as finding new homes for oyster beds.
Dowling said there is a possibility for a maintenance dredge during the time the permit will allow, until 2023. He added this first dredge removed about 165 cubic yards of material.