Plans for Lawrencetown Beach makeover revealed
Dozens of residents attend Nova Scotia's Lands and Forestry Department presentation
Plans to update aging and decaying infrastructure at Lawrencetown Beach were unveiled at a community meeting led by Nova Scotia's Lands and Forestry Department on Wednesday night.
The plans include a series of smaller buildings and facilities, which would house changing rooms, flushing toilets, an office for park staff, a lifeguard building, wheelchair accessible areas, viewing areas, waste sorting stations, a higher berm to protect the roads and outdoor showers, to name a few.
Dozens of people, mostly from the area, attended the two-hour long session — which included a presentation, question and answer period, an opportunity to get a closer look at the ideas and leave feedback on sticky notes.
"I thought the presentation was well-detailed [but] I think the plan is not complete. We're still very concerned about parking at the west end of the beach," said Rob Spicer, a surfer who has lived in the area for 40 years.
Spicer said he was concerned about access to Lawrencetown Point, which is near the curve in the highway coming down the hill to Lawrencetown Beach and is where surfers get into the water.
"Surfers are accessing that west end to go out to the Lawrencetown Point all year and the farther we are away from that, if we go into the parking lot that's there now, it's going to be quite a walk to get the surfing," he said.
Spicer said it looks like there's still a lot of work to do to upgrade the beach infrastructure.
During the presentation, it was unclear how long it would take to complete the work or how much it would cost. The existing beach house could be torn down as soon as fall, but it would only it be demolished if there were plans to construct a replacement.
Sunyata Choyce, a life-long resident of Lawrencetown, was part of a group of people who spent a day painting the aging beach house over the weekend. She noted the presentation was planned just days after the paint job.
"It was so sad that it came to that point that we're cleaning up all the trash, that we're repainting those government structures because the government isn't doing it," Choyce said.
Choyce said whatever Lands and Forestry decides to do, there should be an upkeep and maintenance plan for new structures — so the buildings won't have to be replaced after 30 years.
"How are we going to prevent this from happening to our buildings again if there's no management plan to actually paint it, fix what's broken and upkeep it and care for the property?," Choyce said
Jane Dominie, who operates Moonlight Beach Suites in Lawrencetown, said she's pleased Lands and Forestry is seeking public input before any construction happens at the beach.
"I think the basic concept of what they're planning sounds really good and attractive and everything, as long as they build it out of materials that are going to last," Dominie said.
Dominie said she was going to suggest transferring the road to the railway bed, and the trail to the road, to get more parking and create safer access to the beach.
But anything involving that stretch of road would involve Nova Scotia's Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department. Dominie, and a few others at the meeting, said more government departments need to be working together when it comes to redeveloping beach infrastructure.
"I would really like to see a bit more co-operation between the different departments, especially regarding the road and the parking and the safety," she said.
When it comes to the beach house, Dominie said the recent paint job will help with the upcoming summer tourist season. She said she would like to see more garbage bins.