MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – A new push by the cruise industry to sail ships out of Mount Pleasant is grabbing the attention of town leaders.
According to Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie and Town Councilwoman Guang Ming Whitley, a lobbyist paid by the cruise industry is aiming to bring the ships to Patriots Point.
Councilwoman Whitley said they are proposing to build a 30,000 square-foot terminal and a 1200 car parking garage. The councilwoman and the mayor both share the same stance and firmly oppose the idea.
“The people that are pushing this have no interest in this land, they have no leasehold stake in this land, and I think what’s offensive about this is they are trying to push an issue on the town about land that they have no right to be pushing this issue on,” said Mayor Haynie.
Mayor Haynie said state law doesn’t even allow for ships of that kind at Patriots Point.
“Once this got out, I’ve heard from so many residents, ‘don’t ever have cruise ships in the Town of Mount Pleasant,’” the mayor told News 2.
Meanwhile, Councilman Gary Santos had a different take.
“The benefit is, it will create more jobs for people in Mount Pleasant, definitely. And it will create revenue for, you know, the Medal of Honor Museum and the Yorktown and the business over there,” the councilman said.
He also predicted there would be certain regulations such as noise limitations.
South Carolina Ports Authority President and CEO Barbara Melvin weighed in on the potential for cruises in Mount Pleasant as well.
“We will continue to have concerns unless there is a permit application that thoroughly addresses impacts to safe navigation in the harbor, as well as impacts to operations and maintenance of the channel. We encourage those pursuing this to gauge support of Mount Pleasant, as that is a critical component.”
While this proposal has yet to appear on a town agenda and will likely come across many obstacles if it does, Santos said he wants to hear from the people of Mount Pleasant.
“We need to put that out there and let the citizens decide what they want to do and not just have the mayor and one councilmember come out with their opinion and try to stop something that may be really good for Mount Pleasant,” said Councilman Santos.
This conversation comes as the cruising industry in the City of Charleston gets ready for a shift. The contract between the South Carolina Ports Authority and the Carnival Cruise Lines will come to an end in 2024.