October 19, 2017
This week marks 60 days for me here on Dewees Island, and these first two months have been quite busy as I begin to settle into this new role. I am truly enjoying being here on the island as your new manager. I sincerely appreciate the personal warm welcome extended to me by so many of you. From the Brunch you hosted for my family in September, to the many of you just stopping by the office to say hello and introduce yourself, you have made me feel extremely welcome here at Dewees. Thank you for all that you have done to help me begin to settle into this new role.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature has been far less hospitable. However, despite the many obstacles she has thrown onto our pathway, we continue to march forward making progress each day. Our staff remains steadfast in their tireless efforts, and we appreciate the assistance provided by volunteers as we cleaned up after Irma.
Although the fallen debris was more limited than with last year’s Hurricane Matthew, the damage this storm imposed on the infrastructure of the island was far more significant. While there were high winds associated with the storm, the most powerful punch was dealt by the water it pushed onto the island in the tidal surge. The timing was perfectly aligned with high tide resulting in the most significant water event since Hurricane Hugo hit this area in 1989.
To provide some perspective, we have utilized over 20 loads of shell sand (320 Cubic Yards) and over 150 tons of washed stone repairing the washout on Lake Timicau Lane, the damage on Pelican Flight, and the significant washouts along Old House Lane. To put the repairs into perspective, that is almost three times the amount of sand and six times the volume of rock that we typically utilize for routine road maintenance in an entire year. The large repair on Lake Timicau Lane was very similar in scope and material requirements to last year’s damage from Hurricane Matthew, but the other roads incurred far more significant damage from the tidal surge. In light of how badly the roads were damaged, I am very pleased with their current condition. I want to commend Mitch Wise for his hard work to get them where they are today!
There is still much repair work yet to be done, and the repairs will likely take many months to complete. The single largest project will be the repair to the damage at Six Pipes. Lori and I are working closely with representatives and engineers from Duck’s Unlimited to develop various options to present to the Board. I sincerely appreciate the attentive assistance we have received from Richard de Mayo, Wetlands Chair, as well as the historic information and insights that I have been provided by Faith Schwaibold, our former Wetlands Chair. We are all in this together, and we are striving to develop the best plan of action for overcoming this challenge.
The repair work at One-Pipe is nearly complete and we have raised the final grade above the original specs. Please note, it will take some significant time for this berm to dry and so we will be keeping the road closed for the foreseeable future. Please do not attempt to drive your carts over the berm.
Aside from the storm repairs, we continue to make great progress on an operational level. I have hosted staff meetings each week, and we are growing as a team. This month, we have begun the process of outlining short-term goals, discussing mid-range goals, and embarking on a number of departmental improvements. Our team has tremendous insight into the operation of the island, and there is an earnest desire to enhance operational efficiency and service.
Outside of our meetings, our team has come together to tackle several visible improvement projects. Two weeks ago, we had a cleanup day at the marina, and yesterday we worked together to tidy up the landscape beds around the Landings Building. We sincerely appreciate all the positive feedback we have received on this work, and we plan to continue our systematic cleanup program over next two months. If any of you as owners would like to volunteer to help us, just let Lori know. Our next workday will be at the Huyler House.
There are a couple of events that I want to highlight this month. Halloween “trick-or-treating” will be held on October 28, at 5:30, then Lori will host an “Observe the Moon” class at the Huyler House at 7:30. On Sunday, October 29, we will host a public safety event on the Helipad from 11:00am – 2:00pm. Shannon Meloy, one of our public safety officers has worked very hard planning this event, and he has arranged for two helicopters to be here (assuming they are not called away for an emergency), and he is planning several important safety demonstrations. We will serve hot dogs, chips, and beverages. Please let Chief McWethy know if plan to attend so we can purchase supplies appropriately.
October has been a great month so far, with many more fun days ahead. Again, thank you all for your warm welcome and for your continued support and encouragement. This is a wonderful place to be. Have a great week, and I look forward to seeing you on the island.
David Dew, CCM, CCE
Dewees Island POA & DUC