Mainland communities in the state of New Jersey are proud to say that cleanup is completely on track, almost two weeks after Hurricane Sandy destroyed any and everything in her path. However, shore towns including Seaside Heights Barrier Island, who may have been hit beyond repair, have not yet had the opportunity to begin airing out and cleaning up their homes due to a decision made by Governor Chris Christie.
According to USA Today, Christie made a decision to shut down island access to all excluding recovery and emergency crews, which has angered many who believe the policy endangers their property and livelihood.
"I'm not going to let people back on this island until it's safe," said Christie to USA Today. Residents like Joanne Delancey-Stack believe the governor’s policy is “creating a manmade disaster.”
Delancey-Stack, a finance director for the Ocean County Board of Realtors, was staying on the island up until Wednesday when she left to go to work. Now, based on the enforced policy, she cannot return.
Spokeswoman for Toms River, Debbi Winogracki, agrees with Christie's decision to keep residents off of the island.
“We just can’t ignore what the state’s engineers are telling us," she stated to USA today. "Many houses are still too dangerous to enter.”
As of Sunday night, the Associated Press had reported that most of the state had its power restored, but thousands of homes still on the barrier islands were too dangerous to power up.
Seaside Park Mayor Robert Matthies spoke frankly for all his residents by saying: "If we're ready, why can't we come back?"