Letter: Richmond beaches ‘clear-cut’

Dear Editor,

Regarding the huge windstorm we had a few weeks ago and, more specifically, what is known as Gilbert or London Beach (Dyke Road shoreline — No. 2 Rd. east through the dog park), the city is in the process of debris cleanup — mainly driftwood logs which were all rearranged and thrown high above normal high-water line by the wind and waves. Agreed, it’s quite the mess and, as is underway, requires attention.

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 However, the city has contracted out the cleanup, and the contractor is basically and commercially  “strip mining” — “clear cutting”  — the entire shoreline.

For a good part, this has little impact on the esthetics, except for the above mentioned Gilbert beach and sections to the west of that, say to the small boat launch.

 For many years, I cruised the B.C. coast with adventure charters and have had the pleasure of viewing thousands of west coast beaches. This little diamond of a beach in our city, in our own backyard, at the mouth of the mighty Fraser, held the spirit and character, the flavour of the west coast more than any other in the Lower Mainland. 

Yes, there have likely been many storms before that have rearranged the driftwood on that beach. And over the last, who knows, say 100 years, that wood has been there in one arrangement or another creating our little diamond. Locals and I’m sure others have visited — photographers, dreamers, kids playing in the sand and climbing and hiding among their huge random shapes, stirring excitement and imaginations. It’s simply a wonderful place!

 I contacted Coun. Linda McPhail, who was immediately concerned and had someone from the parks department call me and we discussed the situation. He, too, was concerned, compassionate and fully understood the importance of “the beach.”

He promised that some logs would be left. I was pleased and satisfied.

  Yet, I am somewhat concerned that this clean-up contractor will be left on his own to leave a few token logs lying around and be done with it. I am hoping our Richmond parks department will involve their landscaping experts who care and are well aware of park esthetics to ensure our little diamond will be restored as a diamond.

 The cleanup process is at a critical location — right at the beach. Many character pieces of driftwood are minutes away from being trucked away for good. I do think the city is concerned and would take positive action, but time is of the essence and I’m not sure of the most effective approach.

Larry Mangotich




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