Borough of Deal proposes fee to get on to the typically free Hathaway Beach

Officials in the Borough of Deal are considering charging a fee to get on one of its most popular beaches, and some think that it may be an attempt to restrict public access.

"I think having lived here since the early '50s and growing up here, Deal's attitude always was, 'If you're not from Deal we prefer you not to be here," says fishermen Bill Wrubel.

Wrubel says he thinks that the borough's plan to charge an entrance fee for Hathaway Beach this summer is a way to keep away outsiders. He says it's the municipality's latest attempt to restrict beach access.

"We knew this growing up," he says. "We'd rather not have you on the beaches and just do little things to make it inconvenient so that you go to the next town."

The borough previously proposed ordinances that would have restricted on street parking near beaches. They were both scrapped due to public opposition.

Borough officials were not available for comment Friday due to the Veterans Day holiday, but have previously said that fees would be used to pay for lifeguards at the beaches. Deal beaches are all unguarded and Hathaway Beach typically sees the largest crowds due to construction going on around the borough's other beaches.

The mayor has said that charging a fee at Hathaway Beach may encourage beachgoers to spread out to the other free beaches, lessening the crowds.

Residents say that litter has also been an issue at Hathaway Beach. Borough officials say that they plan to buy to machine to rake the debris.

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