Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Municipal Elections: Henry Temple runs for mayor of Wrightsville Beach

Henry Temple is running for mayor of Wrightsville Beach against incumbent Darryl Mills. (Courtesy photo)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — Henry Temple is running for mayor of Wrightsville Beach against incumbent Darryl Mills. A retired medical doctor, Temple has never held or campaigned for a government position but is a long-standing member of the community.

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

Temple’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.

To vote early in New Hanover County, visit the Northeast Library (1241 Military Cutoff Road). From Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, voters can also go to CFCC Health Sciences and Learning Center (415 Second St.), Carolina Beach Town Hall (1121 Lake Park Blvd.) and the NHC Senior Center (2222 S. College Road).

Once early voting closes, voters will need to go to the location listed on their voter registration card, or 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 (PCD): Why run for mayor now?

Henry Temple (HT): My qualifications for mayor include extensive leadership positions in the hospital and medical community. I am experienced in strategic planning, budgets and efficiently chairing board meetings. I am committed to preserving its character and optimizing the quality of life for its citizens.

I am running for mayor at this time because we need a change of leadership. We need a mayor who is accessible and responsive to the town’s citizens.

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

HT: The three issues that town residents have voiced to me are a.) quality of life issues, such noise abatement and adequate bicycle and pedestrian paths; b.) traffic and parking; and c.) protection and maintenance of our beach strand.

PCD: Where do you see the balance of accommodating tourists and other locals outside WB and ensuring WB residents’ concerns are addressed?

HT: The quality of life and residents’ concerns are paramount. After their safety and satisfaction are addressed, then do everything to optimally accommodate our visitors.

PCD: What is your long-term vision for parking and transportation on Wrightsville Beach? How would you approach a rate increase? How will you tackle reducing traffic on the island or addressing infrastructure needs?

HT: Parking and traffic is a problematic issue for residents and visitors alike. We are a tiny village of only 1.1 square miles of land. It is evident that we are at the limit (or over the limit) of what we can accommodate.

We are a town of 2,500 citizens. At summer’s peak, we have to staff and provide infrastructure as if we were a city of 25,000. It is not reasonable for the town’s citizens to bear the burden for these costs and visitors have to pay their fair share.

To date, the town government has not been proactive or inventive in addressing this problem. I propose to appoint a traffic and parking taskforce. Its membership will represent all the different neighborhoods and business interests.

PCD: Do you support public transit adding routes to Wrightsville Beach? Why or why not?

HT: I do not support public transit adding routes to Wrightsville Beach.

PCD: Wrightsville Beach has run into various roadblocks with its beach renourishment, causing the 2022 cycle to be significantly delayed and the beach to erode. What is your plan to ensure the beach stays nourished and avoid future delays?

HT: Beach renourishment is an ongoing and recurring need for our beach strand. It’s a federal function. The town must be proactive and communicate its importance to the federal executive and legislative branches each and every year.

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

HT: Hurricanes and sea level rise are facts of our life. Hurricanes are a recurring and immediate threat; sea level rise is more insidious.

The town can protect its residents with proper land use ordinances, promoting underground utilities and well thought out and resident friendly evacuation planning.

PCD: Do you support the town merging with CFPUA for its water supply and associated costs, more than $20 million estimated, to upgrade its system? How should positions in the town’s public works department be handled if the town does consolidate its water system?

HT: A safe, reliable and economical water supply is essential. The town has to consider the benefits and risks of continuing to provide water for the town vs. merging with CFPUA. It is not an easy issue.

There are big problems in addressing the present aging infrastructure and increasing demand. On the other, there has been dissatisfaction with the politics and dysfunction at CFPUA. It is an issue that needs great study and input from residents and users.

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