Stop Beach Plan

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 Dear Editor:

Presently, the Army Corps wants to lay tons of concrete on our beach in their one stop solution to erosion/protection/maintenance; nature be damned. Why? 

Up until 1998, twice a year, Parks, in partnership with Sanitation, would maintain our beaches. In summer, workers from Parks and Sanitation pooled men and heavy machinery scaling the sand height from the back of our beaches down to the tide line following markings on measured bamboo poles they implanted. In autumn, sand height was lowered to make way for snow fences on angles to keep sand on the beach. In spring, our beach maintenance was repeated.

In 1999, Parks performed the useless log drag and used the feckless beach rakes to give the appearance of maintenance. But that was all. What used to be twelve steps down from the boardwalk to the sand became two, sand piling up under the boardwalk and in the backs of beaches from Beach 126th east. Our beaches were smaller and higher but didn’t have to be. The reason was the city gave up on Rockaway beaches much like the feds have abandoned Riis Park.

In 1997, Parks ‘experimented’ with dunes on Beach 140th and five neighboring blocks.  They were constructed by Parks on weekends using heavy machinery they repeatedly said wasn’t available calling it an ‘experiment.’ The truth was, however, these six ocean front homeowners grew so sick of beach goers using their sea wall areas as latrines and party central, they chipped in $1,000 each for newly created property extensions; protections against people rather than flooding. From that experiment, the unkempt Rockaway Dunes were born composed of sand that could have been used to replenish our beaches.

Since Sandy, navigating the dune mats has denied access to our beaches for elderly and handicapped. No one cares. Locals are being fed the tripe that the Great Wall and ramps are instruments for making the beach handicapped accessible: ridiculous. Many handicapped can barely walk a few steps to their cars or wheelchairs let alone with baggage. So, stop the baloney.

Our wall, a wall across our beaches: 14 feet of concrete topped with two feet of sand with an accompanying baffle-front walkway from Beach 126-149 is a game-changer for the community property values and all. Moreover, we can expect our baffle front walkways to be inundated with sand, unmaintained.

Is the Great Wall of Rockaway the only way to stave off another hundred-year storm? Is it impenetrable against the tremendous pounding of a surging ocean?  What if the wall collapses, carrying wall projectiles down beach blocks?

Locals are being misled to believe ramps are instruments for making the beach handicapped accessible. Many handicapped can barely walk a few steps to their cars or wheelchairs. They can neither access the ramps nor wheel a chair on the angles warranted. What happens when they reach the base of the ramps? Wheelchairs don’t work in sand.

Our natural beaches were once considered pristine, the quality of our sand the envy of beach communities the world over. Unless we abort the Great Wall of Rockaway, our reputation as a beach community will cease to exist.  Future generations will suffer; and it will be our fault. Breezy Co-op opted out of the Wall because they refuse to sacrifice nature for concrete with no guarantees. Get active. Speak up. Stop the insanity, please.

Joan Mettler

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