PHOTO CREDIT: CNBNEWS.NET
BY BILL CLEARY
GLOUCESTER CITY NJ-Fishing has been banned at Freedom Pier in Gloucester City but that hasn't stopped the vandals from destroying it. CNBNews was notified about the vandalism by a resident who walks the pier on a daily basis. According to the individual he found the three- foot- lamp broken (photo) Sunday morning. "Yesterday when I took my daily walk the lamp was fine. The vandalism had to happen sometime during the night."
Mayor and council on July 26 passed an ordinance on first reading banning fishing at the pier. According to Bob Bevan, a spokesperson for the the City said , “The new law was needed because there were five complaints to the Mayor's office during a 2-week period. Those complaints were about Freedom Pier and the trash left by people fishing, leaving bait on the teak benches, taking nuts off the iron fence to weight their lines, and then cutting up bait on the tops of the teak trash receptacles. Freedom Pier was designed for the "non-fishing" public, those wishing to relax on the benches, take a stroll and enjoy the sunsets. The City has a pier designed for fishing located only 200 ft. south of Freedom Pier. To the south of the fishing pier is a marina used for recreational boating. All these facilities are connected by a river walk that is second to none anywhere in South Jersey.”
Even though the public hearing on the controversial new law isn't secheduled until August 16, signs banning fishing at the pier are already in place.
Ironically eight months ago Councilman Nick Marchese cited the vandalism in a Letter to the Editor, blaming the ongoing damage at the pier on kids. He never mentioned that fishermen were responsible for the damage.
As for security at the pier, the City did purchase a security camera, (photo) which is located on the corner side of building that sits near the Monmouth Street pier exit. In January when the vandalism first began Police Chief George Berglund said the City should have purchased a high definition camera system. If they had there would be a better chance of arresting the vandals he said. Berglund added that he was never asked about securing the sight when it was being constructed. The construction cost for the pier renovations, $1.6 million.
The cost for repairing the damaged lights isn't cheap. According to an electrican the City hired to repair previous damaged lights the parts have to be shipped from Cleveland since they can't be purchased locally. The light ballist and outside glass that sits on top of the post can cost as much as $400 to $500. There are 39 lights in all, each one cost $1,000.
PHOTO BELOW: The lone security camera for Freedom Pier was installed on the small building in the distance with the peak roof, which is located by the Monmouth Street pier exit. The tall white building is the former Coast Guard Office building which is used by Holt Logistics Corporate Offices.
photo credit CNBNEWS.NET