I was greatly encouraged — no, thrilled would be more accurate — by the recommendations given at the recent meeting at Seaside Centre pertaining to Sechelt’s foreshore. Imagine returning that glorious beach and landscape to something resembling what Mother Nature first created thousands of years ago. And imagine the result will provide more protection than a sea wall and be so much more appealing to the eye.
As a boy I remember how beautiful the beach in front of Sechelt was. You could walk along the esplanade almost the entire length and just step down to the beach anywhere you chose, unimpeded by ugly rip-rap walls. It was that way when my father walked that beach in the ‘40s and when my grandfather walked that beach in the ‘20s. There were storms then, too. But there wasn’t any appreciable flooding or other damage because there were no rip-rap walls encroaching out into the high tide mark providing a launching ramp for the waves. The natural slope of the beach simply dissipated the force of the waves. Then came the do-gooders with their excavators, determined to “improve” on what had been there for millennia. They pushed dirt and rocks out to the high tide line and installed those walls. Why? To plant grass and put in a few picnic tables? Madness!
There are those who suggest the walls were put in to stop erosion. At the Seaside meeting, old photos of the beach and shoreline from 1932 were compared to recent photos and showed there has been no erosion in 80 years. The professional analysis backs this up, concluding that the beach is likely to look the same well into the future, if only we don’t put up walls that encroach out into the sea.
There is another important thought that is pertinent to this discussion. That is, the beach of Sechelt, like many other natural creations, has of itself intrinsic beauty which we need to preserve and honour. This beach was gorgeous and fully sustainable just the way the glaciers and the ocean created it. For us to have come along and pushed great jagged walls of rip-rap out into the high tide mark was completely disrespectful of the sanctity of that beach. For us to now remove those unsightly, dangerous, unsustainable rip-rap walls and return the beach to a more natural state is so refreshingly enlightened.
I came to that meeting prepared to rant and rave against any more desecration of our beach. I came away absolutely thrilled to think sanity has prevailed and we will actually get our beach back. I urge the mayor and council to accept and adopt these recommendations and restore Sechelt’s beach to its natural form and splendour.
Mike Evans, Sechelt