Safety First

Monday, June 28, 2010

Road View To Speightstown & Back – Beach-Way

So, yesterday morning I decided to take advantage of the low tide to get in my 10,000 steps for the day with a walk along the beach from Road View to Speightstown and back. I have to emphasize that this is now only possible (without a sea bath) at low tide since the construction of the three rock groynes in Lower Road View (approved and protected by the Coastal Zone Management Unit)at what is now called St. Peter's Bay. Also, I have to add that this walk is becoming increasingly difficult even at low tide. I observed yesterday two visitors having to turn around in the vicinity of the Junkanoo beach cottage in Road View because of all the rocks impeding their path to Mullins Beach. I was going north in the opposite direction and hoping for better luck rounding the corner between The Great House and the old abandoned Kings Beach Hotel.
I was pleasantly surprised to see about half dozen visitors to the island sea-bathing between the middle and southernmost of the three groynes and thought they were staying at the condos at St. Peter’s Bay after noticing that the black ceiling fans (all the others in the complex are white) on the balcony of one of the apartments were on. I was later disabused of that notion when I noticed the visitors heading for Leamington beach villa next door as I was photographing (as pictured below) the formidable curtain fence being built to shield from public view The Palazzate currently under construction between Leamington and St. Peter’s Bay.

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For all its pronouncements about building seawalls and villas on the beach too close to the water, and the firestorm in Road View over the groynes, I continue to be amazed that this seawall built right on the high watermark upon which they are hanging this temporary curtain fence has also been apparently “approved” by the Coastal Zone Management Unit and Town Planning. That mystery is only heightened by this new fence on the beach. What does The Palazzate have to hide behind this new fence? Who knew you could buy Permclad galvanized sheeting that tall, oops, long, anyway? Could it have something to do with the fact that The Palazzate is going up so close to the water? So close that (as pictured below) they have to be pumping the construction site of seawater 24/7. The former Sandridge Hotel site like St. Peter’s Bay next door is a former mangrove area, and St. Peter’s Bay isn’t built on a “floating foundation” and we have not been saddled with the groynes for nothing, you know.

Moving on up the beach I ran into yet more recent beachworks which are also having a deleterious effect on area beaches. This time it’s the massive rock revetment and offshore breakwater (pictured below) built by Cobblers Cove Hotel reportedly to prevent diners at their “beachfront” restaurant being splashed by the waves.

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These are pictures you will never see in any tourist brochure or Internet website promoting Cobblers Cove, so the question is why do hoteliers do stuff like this? The once picturesque and sandy Godings Bay has noticeably narrowed since these rockworks, and assessability to it from the hotel is now sometimes only possible at low tide. Did it never occur to these people that they could have used sand instead of ugly rock piles to replenish what years of storms and neglect had wrought by way of beach erosion? If tourism (and, therefore, good beaches) is so vital to our economy, why is government allowing all of this destruction along our coasts?
Talking about government, their record is not much different in Speightstown with the second “so-called” boardwalk secretly being built by Barbados Tourism Investment. As pictured below and elsewhere on this blog, it is truly a “boardwalk” from nowhere to nowhere.
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There was once a popular sandy beach here which could have been restored where the swimmer and fisherman with the blue net over his shoulder now eek out a seabath and a living. Instead, we now have yet another massive rock pile on the beach with a narrow footpath on top; and one property owner has already put up a new chain link fence to ensure that you can only walk in single file or one-way. There is no beach left even at low tide (when these photos were taken), but you can access the “swimming area” behind the rocks by the new flight of steps behind Jordan’s Supermarket built on a watercourse for storm-water. Amazing! And, as if that were not enough of an insult, and contrary to BTI’s marketing, the footpath ends short of the “improvements” at Mango’s restaurant. I am not holding my breath, but in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back” to see if there is any sand left in front of the rocks by Mango’s.

As it was a very hot day, on my way back to Road View I decided to stop and take a dip, aheem, aheem, between the groynes where I had noticed some visitors bathing on my way to Speightstown. No sooner had I taken the plunge into the water I began to hear voices even though I thought I was the only soul around. Then I looked up and sure enough on the fifth floor of the second to last southernmost block at St. Peter’s Bay I spotted three people on the balcony where I had earlier noticed the black ceiling fans on. I recognized one of the two men as the main developer at St. Peter’s Bay by his trademark shirtjack. I could not hear what they were saying as they surveyed the ocean, the beach, the groynes and moi; but something tells me they are not too happy.

Click images to enlarge.
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  1. So did you had a great time? I also like to walk along the beach especially when it's low tide because I get to stroll further along the beach as compared to when it is high tide.

  2. Yes, I had a good time. I love walking the beach in the footsteps of at least three generations of my family. For them it did not matter what tide it was to walk the beach but I fear there will be no beach left to walk for the next generation if nothing is done now to correct current natural and man-made problems in our area. Hence, the reason I write this blog. Thanks for your visit all the way from The Philippines.