Joe Friesenham has been thinking and talking about creating a more permanent sand beach at Transfer Beach for many years. And now, the project is a lot closer to reality.
The Ladysmith Rotary Club member and former Town of Ladysmith Public Works director made a presentation to Ladysmith council, along with Rotary Club member Ken Bosma, on July 15 to tell council about a proposal to create a sand beach.
Their presentation was well received, and councillors expressed conditional support for the project.
“[The proposal] is creating a sand beach somewhat more permanently than what exists today at Transfer Beach Park,” explained Bosma. “The intent is that the Rotary Club could pay for it and ensure the work is done, and the Town would then take it over and look after it in perpetuity. What has happened in the past is the sand seems to disappear, so we intend to create a concrete wall at the high-water mark that is sufficiently high that we would take the sand and pack it and create a sand wall.”
During the presentation, Friesenham outlined some of the history of the Town considering sand projects at the beach.
“I know the Town has been asked a number of times to look at a number of different options about getting sand on the beach, but because of the tidal action daily here, it wouldn’t stay,” he said. “It was about eight, nine years ago when I had the opportunity to have coffee with Coun. Duck Paterson and a member of the Kinsmen when they came up with the proposal to put in a retaining wall, and we had a real close look at it over the years, and we figured it would work.”
The proposal brought forward by the Rotary Club is to build a wall from the end of the existing wall that is by the whaling gun, straight across, above the high-tide line, over to the fire pit, 18 inches out of the ground and then to fill nine to 10 metres back from there with sand, explained Friesenham.
“That will allow the sand to stay,” he said. “I know a few years ago, we built a small section that was greatly used when we put that boom boat in there. The kids loved it.”
The Rotary Club is asking the Town of Ladysmith for use of its concrete forms to build the wall, as well as staff expertise.
“You have a good carpenter whom we would like to use to direct us to make sure it’s done properly,” said Friesenham.
The Rotary Club is proposing to put in this wall some time after the Labour Day long weekend in September.
Friesenham says it would take a couple days of the carpenter’s time, maybe three, to get the forms in, and the Rotary Club is hoping it would take just over a week to build the wall.
“Once the wall is done, we would need to bring in equipment to haul away the dirt and bring in the sand,” he added. “I’m not sure how long that would take.”
Council supported the initiative subject to support from the Ladysmith Parks and Recreation Commission and to resources being available from Town staff.