Kite boarders pitch in to clean East Beach

Volunteers work to prevent shore erosion and improve safety.

Kiteboarding enthusiasts including Brad Dance (second from left) work to shore up a stretch of East Beach

Kiteboarding enthusiasts including Brad Dance (second from left) work to shore up a stretch of East Beach

A group of kite boarders have pitched in to try and curb erosion on White Rock’s East Beach.

Brad Dance said he and other volunteers did the work – including adding rip rap – to help prevent more of the foreshore from getting washed away, and increase safety for those accessing the beach.

“They’ve lost about 25 feet there of grass and dirt and everything else,” Dance said. “It’s a safety issue. You go right to the edge and it’s a drop-off.

“Nothing was really getting done and hasn’t been done in many, many years. We decided we’d try and get all the rocks back and shore it up a bit.”

The stretch of waterfront was damaged in windstorms including last August and, most recently, last month.

Waves that battered the foreshore undermined the promenade and caused chunks of the grassy area near the bear statue to break off.

In the aftermath, White Rock’s director of municipal operations, Greg St. Louis, described the damage as “significant.” But, he also noted that work to address erosion in East Beach was already planned for this year. The storm “just kind of made the situation a little bit worse for us.”

Friday, St. Louis told Peace Arch News those plans are progressing; there have been meetings with consultants and proposals have been reviewed.

It’s hoped some measures, at least, can be undertaken before the summer season gets into full swing, he said.

St. Louis said while citizens may be frustrated with an apparent lack of work to address the problem, he said getting it done is “not as easy” as some may believe.

“Anything we do on the foreshore, we need to get approval,” St. Louis said.

Noting the area is a designated Wildlife Management Area, St. Louis said consultation with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is among the required steps.

“It’s best to leave it to the city to work… through all the different agencies,” he said. “We have to just work through their guidelines.”

East Beach resident, Pat Rogers, told PAN she was delighted to see Dance’s group taking the initiative to clean the beach up and make it safe for people to use.

Rogers said she hadn’t seen any city crews on the beach since parts of the shoreline were taped off following the March 10 windstorm, and – as far as she knew – the city hadn’t been down to see the work the volunteers had done.

“How long would it have stayed like that if these guys hadn’t done something about it?” Rogers wondered.

Dance said he hopes the work done will get beach visitors, including kite boarders, through the summer.

– with files from Melissa Smalley