Plympton-Wyoming council is trying to figure out what to do with aging staircases leading to the beach at Blue Point.
Several years ago, the neighbourhood association turned the stairs in the local park over to the town. They were in good repair at the time. But officials say time and weather has taken its toll.
A recent inspection of the beachfront by the town’s parks and recreation committee brought the concern to light. Engineer Dave Fielding says the stairs at Blue Point Park aren’t safe anymore and something has to be done.
Chief Administrative Officer Carolyn Tripp says people heading to the water recognize the problem and are walking down a culvert. “Now we’re getting complaints that people are choosing to use alternate routes and they’re twisting their ankles,” she told council recently.
Tripp adds the town would be liable if anything were to happen.
But a fix won’t be cheap. Fielding has done some preliminary work and has found solutions from replacing the stairs at a cost of about $25,000, to building various types of steel stairs, which could cost upwards of $200,000 depending on what was done.
Plympton-Wyoming could also consider creating a walkway without stairs along the embank-ment.
A cost for that was not estimated.
“You have at least six other locations. What you do here sets a precedent and they’re all starting to fail,” says Fielding.
Some councillors expressed concern about the cost and others suggested any solution is going to have problems because of erosion in the area.
“It may be unsuitable to have beach access for the next 10 years with the erosion,” says Councillor Ron Schenk. “We have big chunks coming off of the bank.”
Councillor Bob Woolvett agreed.saying anything would be a “temporary fix… We have rising water levels…what I’m hearing is to just get something in there so people can get down there but the banks are collapsing.”
For now, the existing stairs will be removed and town staff will try to make the landing into a lookout while another solution is found.