IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Sand takes over boardwalk
MOTHER NATURE has taken over the Richard Haynes Boardwalk in Hastings, Christ Church, changing it to a beachwalk.
For the past four weeks users of the popular boardwalk have been forced to wade through almost ten inches of sand deposited from strong sea currents. The sand is now covering more than 100 feet of the long, winding, wooden pathway in three different areas.
Some people who walk and jog on the boardwalk have even tried to shovel the sand off the pathway.
Frustrated users have taken to social media posting photographs of the sand-covered boardwalk, complaining about how cumbersome it had become to traverse.
The sand is along three spots in particular – in the middle of the boardwalk, the section going towards Almond Bay and the area close to the old Caribbee Hotel.
Users want to know which Government department is responsible for the removal of the sand. That happens to be the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU).
Noel Gittens, 70, who walks on the boardwalk every morning from Monday to Friday, said the sand had lessened the enjoyment of his morning stroll.
“This is about four weeks that the shore has covered the boardwalk, which means that the boardwalk is now covered by sand. I called the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) and I spoke to a guy down there who said they had a report on it and they were waiting to see what they could do when they meet, but they did not have any money . . . .”
Gittens said he also spoke to the person who was contracted to clean the walkway.
“I saw him down here twice walking up and down taking a survey of what is happening. It would appear as though his contract does not involve moving sand,” Gittens said.
This was also verified by workers who were spotted cleaning the area on Friday. One explained that they were working for a company contracted to clean the boardwalk but that did not include removing the sand.
However, Gittens said he believed the National Conservation Commission (NCC), which previously was responsible for managing the boardwalk, should be brought in to remove the sand.
“There is a simple solution to this problem. Before he had the contract a year ago NCC was cleaning here. They can deploy about 15 to 20 people here and the sand could be removed in a day,” he suggested.
The retiree pointed out that walking through the sand was beginning to take a toll on him.
“It is causing pressure on my thighs and on my back. The tourists complaining about this – you ain’t see nobody walking.”
Another man who was spotted jogging on the boardwalk, but who did not want to give his name, said some people were moving off the boardwalk when they got to the sandy sections, while others were just not walking at all, preferring to sit on the benches.
“Some persons have complained that it ain’t make no sense walking here now. Normally you have a lot of people on this boardwalk but look at it now, hardly anyone in sight.”
Pointing out that he had been walking on the boardwalk since it was built, the man said this was the first time he had seen it blocked by so much sand.
On Facebook where the issue was ventilated, suggestions were made for people to get together, rent equipment and remove the sand since “Government can’t do all”.
Concern was also expressed about the inability of disabled and elderly people to use the walkway while it remained in this state.
When contacted about the situation, Antonio Rowe, deputy director of the CZMU, would only say that the matter had been brought to their attention and was being addressed. (MB)