Safety First

Thursday, February 03, 2011

St. Peter's Bay Admits Failure Of Groynes

(click top portion of images to enlarge)

Three weeks ago the above photo of a portion of the beach between the groynes at St. Peter's Bay, Road View, St. Peter was posted on Facebook along with this question: "If the groynes are so effective in combating beach erosion then why is this fence being unearthed and toppled?"  Well, it looks like we just got the answer from St. Peter's Bay.  A visit to the same area yesterday found a work crew hastily shifting the fence inland several feet from where it was originally located.  One could not wish for a clearer admission of the failure of the groynes at St. Peter's Bay than to witness this ignominious exercise.

Workmen beating the retreat from the beach
Keep in mind that the purpose of the groynes is to trap sand thereby stabilizing and/or widening the beach amenity for the enjoyment of owners and guests of the condo complex.  This is still largely true north of the northernmost groyne but between the other groynes in the center of the property a disaster has unfolded forcing St. Peter's Bay to beat a retreat from the beach.  This blogger, although a student of theology, is neither a prophet nor the son of one, but I do recall that nearly five years ago on witnessing the construction of these groynes, warning that this day would come.  In the very first post here on these groynes this blogger wrote: "Groins are ugly, don't always do what they are supposed to do (trap sand), create obstacles to walking on the beach, and most importantly, contribute the destruction of beaches nearby."  We are now witnessing the realization of all of these warnings and it will only get worse.

Last year one of the principals of St. Peter's Bay told a visiting Canadian journalist that people who opposed the groynes were "ignorant."  Well, Mr. Big Developer, who's ignorant now?

This admission of the failure of the groynes should be cause for the Corruption Zone Coastal Zone Management Unit to investigate and start the process of getting rid of them before it is eternally too late and before much more damage is done in the area.  Since these groynes were installed we have seen the total destruction of the beach behind the defunct Kings Beach Hotel, the Great House at Turtle Beach having to spend half million dollars to repair and shore-up their beachfront property, others in the area who don't have that kind of money to spend - tough! - have simply lost property and/or suffered severe damage, Mullins Restaurant on Mullins Beach has had to repair and replace property almost every year, visitors and locals can no longer walk the beach comfortably.  How long must these atrocities be allowed to continue?

Meanwhile, also on our visit to the beach yesterday we again witnessed the pumping of dirty-looking water right on to the near-shore reef and into the ocean from St. Peter's Bay's sister development, The Palazzate's construction site.  This has been going on sometimes day and night for nearly two years since construction started on this site.  Who knows what chemical and/or other environmental and ecological hazards are in this water?  Quite apart from whatever irreversible ecological damage this water may be having on the corals and the other sea creatures that live among them, as bad as and as irresponsible as that may be (a popular swim-with-the turtles site near Cobblers Cove Hotel is only yards away); keep in mind also that the groynes which are doing a poor job trapping sand have zero effect on trapping water.  In other words - whatever construction-related hazards are in this water people (tourists and locals alike) are swimming in at Mullins Beach.

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  1. Strong stuff, it's about time someone took some notice of what is going on down there. It's a disgrace to see what has been done to that once beautiful beach.

  2. As it had been some 3 years since my last visit to my favourite beach I can comment on the changes, the main one being the beach is several FEET lower that it was, I have seen seasonal variations within a year but this is more radical & different...looks a permanent change. Beaches come & go but since the groynes it has been mainly GO!

  3. Very good update of what continues to be a troubling situation- I also had noted the fence buckling and the water pouring into the sea where I had seen a turtle clutch hatch two years ago. I recently wrote another story, this time on climate change's impact on Barbados, which unfortunately didn't have all the info I would have liked it to, due to the constraints over length, etc:

  4. Some one should take samples of the liquid being pumped out, date them and keep them for future reference. I suspect that down the road we are going to discover that this is nasty and dangerous stuff.