I’m glad JIA Executive Director Jones Hooks wants to stick to the facts in his July 9 Letter to the Editor regarding Jekyll Island’s proposed lighting ordinance changes.

To review: There’s the fact that Jekyll wants to remove current sea turtle nesting areas from protection by changing the ordinance’s definition of “beach.” There’s the fact that they’ve proposed increased lighting for flagpoles, swimming pools, and tree strap downlights. And Jekyll hotels are routinely out of compliance during nesting season — that’s a fact, too.

Collectively, JIA’s proposed changes would increase lighting across the state park’s beach while benefiting the Westin and other new developments. They are opposed by DNR because of the harm they would cause threatened loggerhead sea turtles and their hatchlings. It is disingenuous of Mr. Hooks to claim JIA is ‘working closely’ with DNR when, in fact, they are pushing changes that go against the DNR biologists’ recommendations.

No one is quibbling about which company JIA purchases from or if outdated brand names are removed. Those are small, uncontested updates and shouldn’t be used as a smoke screen to distract from more problematic changes.

As others have rightly noted, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center does important work in our community. But in this case, the fact is that the JIA (which benefits financially from the GSTC) is on the wrong side of what’s best for sea turtles. Despite Mr. Hooks’ attempts to spin the issue, Jekyll knows it, DNR knows it, and the public knows it, too.

Pete Matthews


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