nb-mispec-construction

A contractor is rebuilding the embankment at Mispec Beach to help stop further erosion during storms. (Connell Smith/CBC)

Heavy equipment is on site at Mispec Park, as part of ongoing work to secure and rebuild the sea wall at the popular Saint John-area beach.

The machinery is being used to rebuild the seawall in an effort to stop further erosion during storms.

The embankment was washed away, along with the stairs, during winter storms late in 2010. A gravel walkway will now be built down to the beach.

Jacquie Comeau serves on the Mispec Park Recreation Committee, a volunteer community group, and witnessed the destruction when rain storms caused roughly $250,000 worth of damage.

"It was amazing to watch, sad to watch the wall washing out with each wave," said Comeau.

"But there's not much you can do with the power of nature."

The excavators and bulldozers parked on shore were a welcome sight for many visitors at the beach on the weekend.

More improvements needed

Melissa Dykow said her first reaction to the construction was "a bit of a surprise," but said she is happy to see improvements are underway.

"I think it's definitely going to make it safer," Dykow said.

As part of the project, the park's dilapidated canteen and washroom building will be torn down.

However, at the moment, there is no available funding to construct a new one.

Brian Harris, the chairperson of the recreation committee, said the city of Saint John "is starting at the right spot" by fixing the bank before it moves onto other improvements.

"What they're doing is right," said Harris.

"If this is the year we can get that fixed, that's where we've got to start."

Harris said he hopes a new canteen and washroom facility can be built in time for the summer of 2014.

Comeau said she agrees that after the seawall is secure, washrooms will have to be a priority.

"You could see people were just using the woods, throwing the diapers on the beach," she said.

The city plans to set up temporary portable toilets at the park this summer.

A day-long fundraising concert is planned for the park on July 13. The group has already managed to raise some money through fundraising, said Harris.

The park is city-owned but just outside of Saint John’s boundaries.