A former Carolina Beach mayor is challenging the incumbent for the town’s top elected post. Bob Lewis, who was elected to town council in 2009 and appointed mayor in December 2011, is running against current mayor Dan Wilcox, who also has experience on town council and narrowly defeated Lewis in the 2013 mayoral election.
Here are some brief statements on where they stand on certain town issues.
What is the town’s biggest public safety concern?
Wilcox: “Lake Park Boulevard [the town’s main thoroughfare] is a problem. We’ve made some progress on that in the past.”
Lewis: “I’m more concerned about the heroin trafficking in our community that has just gone crazy. My plan would be to look at that area and see what we need to do. Quite frankly, we haven’t done enough to stop this.”
How would you solve the problem of a waste transfer station on the island?
Wilcox: “We’ve been beating our heads against the wall trying to solve that problem. That waste transfer station should’ve never been put there. We’ve been getting creative trying to get our waste off the island.”
Lewis: “Right now I believe we can take waste away straight off the island, get rid of that waste transfer station there.”
How do you feel the town has done elevating its profile as a family destination?
Wilcox: “We’ve gone from a blighted boardwalk to one of the best boardwalks in the country. I think we’ve come a long way. We have positive press now.”
Lewis: “We’ve done a very good job of advertising what we’ve got.”
Do you think more terminal groins and sea walls are needed?
Wilcox: “If you put a wall in some place, you’re going to cause problems somewhere else.”
Lewis: “A terminal groin or anything like that in our community is not going to really provide us with what we want.”
Do you feel the town’s government is open enough, or is there a need for more transparency?
Wilcox: “We don’t take votes in work sessions anymore, we only take votes in open sessions. We stay on top of our Facebook and use it to inform the public. We’ve come a long way with transparency. We’ve worked hard at it.”
Lewis: “I initiated recording closed session meetings. I think council has recently stopped recording them. Quite frankly, these recordings are important. Now we have people working on text messages, and I think that’s something you’re never going to be able to control.”
How do you feel about the town’s efforts to limit single-use plastic bags?
Wilcox: “There were basically two options – one was a user fee, the other was a ban. We gave staff a couple of different options to look at. This is one of those cases where we need to be proactive.”
Lewis: “I think all of us in this town would like to limit single-use plastic bags. We want to have the oceans and the great marine life we have today for generations to come, not just our generation.”
What solutions do you have for more parking near the boardwalk and the new hotel that’s being built?
Wilcox: “Outlying parking is not going to work, not for the central business district. We have a bigger problem than a trolley or a few surface level parking lots are going to resolve.”
Lewis: “We need to take a look a private/public partnership. [Surface lots] are available immediately for us.”
Are you for or against a community pool?
Wilcox: “I’m not against a real community pool. I’m not about [building] a $1.5 million pool and putting that burden on taxpayers. It’s a huge risk. We don’t need it. I wouldn’t vote for anything of that nature. Build a pool for our citizens when we can afford to do it, when it’s within our means.”
Lewis: “I think we’re seeing a tremendous imbalance between the investments we’re making for tourists and the investments we’re making for our residents. The pool, for me, is the type of project that would balance that investment. This is something that I think would be very important for the community.”