Safety First

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

One day you wake up and it dawns on you that the beach is all gone...

Late yesterday evening I was having a seabath with three of my neighbours and reflecting on having to witness in the last few years the demise the beach on which we grew up.  It was our playground as kids which we shared with visitors to the island who traversed it back and forth between Mullins Beach and the resorts and guesthouses in the area.  Now just two years after the seawall and rock revetment pictured above was built (largely in response to the infamous groynes around the corner) this is what's left of our beloved Upper Road View Beach/Turtle Beach in the Mullins Bay area of St. Peter, Barbados.

The drama of it all hit home for this blogger after observing nine young men from Lower Road View try to reach home along the beach from Mullins Beach having to clamber over rocks, over the deck pictured and across the seawall in order to make it to their destination.  I am sure the property owners of this US$8K/night beachfront villa would not have be happy to see this, nor would their guests, but this is what you get when you build your seawall on the high-water mark.  They probably should have thought about that when with the blessing of our Coastal Zone Management Unit they were reportedly spending US$1/4M to drive steel pilings 20 feet into the beach to build this wall and calling it "temporary."

Another instance where the CZMU and this property owner were less than forthright with us was their public announcement that they were going to be laying boulders along the entire beach to protect the properties in the area.  Well, you can see where the boulders ended in this second photo.  No, the coconut tree the of stump you see sticking out of the sand on the beach behind an immediate neighbour's property did not die there - it was part of the debris deposited there by the seawall builders - some protection, huh?  Then they completely skipped the next property below, and called the media for a photo op laying a few boulders (as a "personal favour" - according to someone who lives there) at the next property.  Ironically, the two properties which received short shrift are currently the only spots along this stretch of beach where you can put out a beach chair on sand at low tide; but we know the nearby groynes, seawall and rocks will soon put an end to that also.

Continuing south from the seawall boulders were placed next (see photo below) in front of the property which was used to access the beach with heavy equipment. They then proceeded to skip the next four properties and had a very public row with the owner of the fifth before allowing the placing of a few boulders there.

As soon as the seawall and rock revetment was in place the management of the property they protected seemed to suddenly lose all interest restoring the beach in the area, not to mention getting rid of the groynes to which they were pointing as the cause of their troubles - who needs a sandy beach when you have a large swimming pool behind a protected fence and a powerboat on the ocean...  I suppose.  I certainly hope the CZMU is proud of the outcome here because they were publicly very loudly boasting of their oversight and supervision when the seawall and the rock revetment were under construction.  I hope too that this poor coastal management is history before Mullins Beach itself (seen in the background of the last photo) is similarly swallowed up by the ocean.

See also:  Why is The Great House at Turtle Beach ...
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