Monday, July 22, 2024

Municipal Elections 2023: Virginia ‘Ginnie’ White runs for Bald Head Island council

Virginia “Ginnie” White is hoping to be elected to the Bald Head Village Council. She was appointed to fill a vacancy on the council over the last 18 months. (Courtesy photo)

BALD HEAD ISLAND — Virginia White, a retired attorney who goes by “Ginnie,” is hoping to be elected to the Bald Head Island Village Council this November.

White is running against Scott Thomas and Jerry Maggio; two seats are open.

PCD asked candidates to address issues pertinent to their municipalities, covering issues such as balancing growth and infrastructure, traffic and tourism, and climate change impacts.

White’s answers are included in full; responses are edited only for grammar, spelling and clarity. 

The paywall has been dropped on candidate questionnaires to help voters make informed decisions ahead of Election Day.

To prepare, here are a few dates for readers to keep in mind:

  • Absentee ballots can be requested through Oct. 31 and must be returned Nov. 7 (or post-marked as such).
  • Registration to vote will be open until Oct. 13; afterward, according to the state board of elections, same-day registration will be available only during one-stop early voting.
  • Early voting begins Oct. 19 and remains open through Nov. 4 (3 p.m.).
  • Election Day polls open Nov. 7, 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

In Brunswick County, voters can cast ballots early at the Brunswick County Cooperative Extension (in lieu of the Board of Elections) at 25 Referendum Drive, Building N, in Bolivia.

Once early voting closes, voters will need to go to the location listed on their registration cards, verified here.

To see a sample ballot for the upcoming election, fill in voter registration info here.

A photo ID is required to cast a ballot in 2023; more information can be found on the state board of elections website.

The candidate’s opinions and statements are not a reflection of Port City Daily. 

Port City Daily: Why run for village council now? 

Virginia White: In March 2022, I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the council. During these past 18 months, I have learned a great deal about the challenges facing the community. I hope to continue to contribute my time, energy and talent in the best interests of the island. 

PCD: Name three issues you think are most affecting the village currently and describe how you would work toward tackling them. 

VW: Safe drinking water and effective treatment of wastewater are essential. We all are concerned about the PFAS or “forever” chemicals that were released into the Cape Fear River, and how they may impact our drinking water. The Village has been proactive in testing wells and implementing pretreatment so that our drinking water quality exceeds the limit proposed by USEPA.

We also joined a Multi-District Litigation federal class action complaint against the manufacturers of PFAS chemicals. We continue to seek state and federal grants, as well as damages from the manufacturers, to help pay for this advanced treatment. 

State law requires us to begin planning the upgrade of our wastewater treatment plant when we reach 80% capacity for a 12-month average. We closely watch our summer three-month average because that is our period of peak demand, and it is the more prudent approach. We have not met the 80% threshold for the three-month period, but during the pandemic, we did hit it over two months. Therefore, we initiated our planning and currently are 40% complete. Plant expansion will take 24-30 months and we expect to commence it in 2026, or earlier if grants are awarded. 

The third issue is the transportation system, which is addressed in the next question. 

PCD: Where do you stand on ownership and regulation of the Bald Head Island ferry system? 

VW: Ferry, tram, parking and barge must remain a consolidated transportation system that is safe, reliable, and affordable. The Village was successful in its action before the Utility Commission, resulting in its decision to maintain jurisdiction and regulatory oversight of the entire transportation system. This will assure significant protection for all island users. Having succeeded there, we now must preserve that regulation by defending against the appeal filed by Limited and Transportation. 

PCD: As evidence shows, climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of storms and hurricanes, along with sea level rise. What should the village do to protect residents, property and infrastructure? 

VW: Storm preparation and disaster recovery have been and must continue to be ongoing. In addition, beach renourishment and shoreline stabilization are necessary. The Army Corps of Engineers undertakes channel maintenance and places sand on our shoreline in years two and four of a six-year cycle, assuming Congress appropriates the funding. The island must supplement that renourishment during the gap years when USACE is not scheduled to place sand. The Village anticipates beginning a dredging project in early 2025. 

PCD: What is your vision for long-term residential and commercial development on Bald Head Island? 

VW: The Architectural Review Board and Planning Board will continue to oversee residential construction. Bald Head Island Limited, LLC laid out the residential and commercial properties many years ago, and until recently, took responsibility for most of the commercial development. With Limited’s withdrawal from the island, the Council saw a need to establish standards governing commercial development.

Earlier this year, the Council formed a Commercial Area Planning Task Force, which comprises island volunteers who are nearing completion of commercial standards. Once those are enacted, a Commercial Planning Board will be appointed. 

PCD: How do you think Bald Head Island can better support local workers, especially those in the tourism industry? Do you have any creative ideas on how to help businesses thrive on the island? 

VW: In addition to Bald Head’s beautiful beaches, the Bald Head Conservancy and the Old Baldy Foundation are major attractions for visitors. People also enjoy the island’s various shops and restaurants, and spending the day exploring by golf cart or bicycle. Advertising in local and regional media could help to spread the word and encourage tourism. 

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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