Published: 2020-08-13 09:58:59
Updated: 2020-08-13 09:58:59
By Kendall McGee, WECT News
Lynn Small, manager at the Ocean Crest Fishing Pier, said the pier and motel areas alone suffered $1.75 million in damage.
The property is in the heart of Oak Island's mandatory evacuation zone. Small said, usually, throngs of people would be there enjoying the view and fishing. Instead, the area has been virtually locked down by police while crucial repairs are made.
"It's been hell," Small said. "It's been tough...without power, water, food. We get by, don't get me wrong, but you don't realize it until you're without."
Small said nearly 100 feet of the pier is gone. Some pieces have washed up on the beach, but others are still deep in the water, bobbing among the waves.
Hurricane Isaias is just the latest challenge for Oak Island business owners, according to Town Manager David Kelly.
"With COVID-19, we've already had a trickling effect," Kelly said. "Restaurants, realtors and visitors have already been affected by that, then we had the storm come in."
Small estimates he lost 40% of his business due to the pandemic this season. The destruction from Isaias, though, knocked the pier out of commission all together, he said.
As the hard-hit west end of the island continues work to reopen, Kelly said people shouldn't forget the island as a whole shouldn't be written off for visitors.
"We need to get the message out there that we are open, and we do have places to rent where people can stay," Kelly said, explaining the evacuation zone is shrinking and the town hopes to more of the island up each day.
Even the hardest-hit areas still hope to be open and ready again in a matter of two or three months, Kelly said.
"We're pretty doggone strong," added Small. "Everyone is doing what they have to do to get rolling again, hang in there. Were all working hard but were gonna have some season left. Can't give you a day but I think we're gonna have some left."