A popular Saint John-area beach may have to stay closed for the summer after the park sustained heavy damage during last December's storms.

Rain storms caused roughly $250,000 worth of damage to Mispec Park and volunteers may not be able to open it to the public in its current condition.

A park official said rainstorms last winter damaged the banks of Mispec Beach and that means volunteers must keep the beach closed for liability reasons.

Brian Harris, the chairman of the park committee, said he hopes some funding from Saint John council will come through.

"This is where everyone that has small kids today, this is where they bring their kids," Harris said.

"It's going to be devastating for the people here, there is no question about it."

Harris has asked the provincial government for help under its disaster relief program.

Volunteers are in charge of running Mispec Park and the city normally pays their bills through an operating grant.

But so far this year, the park hasn't seen any of that money from council and now there are added costs for the park's repairs.

Meanwhile, Saint John Coun. Bruce Court said he's willing to raise the park's funding issues with council but not until the stairs are fixed, and the eroded banks are rebuilt.

Residents concerned

Gates to the park's parking lot are locked, the stairs leading to the beach are destroyed, and garbage cans are overflowing.

Many nearby residents are upset about the condition of the park.

Deborah Melanson, who lives near Mispec Park, said it's sad to see the park deteriorate so fast.

"I feel very sad because it's a park that there is always someone there. That park has been there for many years and it's just going to become and eyesore now," Melanson said.

Bertha Moore said she is also disappointed to see the condition of the beach.

"It was a beautiful beach, everyone enjoyed it, but now it's gone," Moore said.