Update - Maintaining Access to Kingsburg Beach
Dear KCC Members,
In the fall of 2013, the KCC initiated discussions with the adjoining neighbors of the access lot to Kingsburg Beach to fix a pothole that had developed; the entry from the road had deteriorated over time and was flagged as a safety concern for those accessing Kingsburg Beach. Such actions are very much in line with our mandate to conserve shoreline while protecting public access. A recent report from the Ecology Action Centre (see report), stated that maintaining the parking area "will not result in major changes in beach stability."
Since our initial discussions on this issue we have heard numerous concerns about our proposed actions, primarily through email correspondence from a small group of local residents. In a facilitated discussion held this past spring, we attempted to come to a common understanding on how the KCC and these residents might work better together. Following this discussion, we believed that a consensus had been reached regarding remediating the pothole and beginning a process to address coastal erosion on Kingsburg Beach.
Where we are now
Unfortunately, individuals within this group remain in strong opposition to having the pothole fixed and maintaining public access at this site. Attempts by our KCC Board to find a reasonable compromise, while remaining true to our mandate, have been unsuccessful. We have suggested several options around this situation, including modifying our language about the parking area on our website and inviting members of the village residents to become members of the KCC and to express interest in joining our board.
These offers have been declined, as individuals within this group remain focused on opposing the pothole fix amid concerns that doing so will encourage access leading to risk for beach destruction.
Given the time that has passed on this issue, we feel it is important to proceed with fixing the pothole. This is both a safety and an access issue. Our plan is to fix the pothole in the spring of 2015.
We will attempt to continue our dialogue with this group. We want to work with the community towards our goal of protecting our coastal resources while maintaining public access to those resources. We do not believe that public access runs counter to the goal of preserving our coastline.
Our commitment to protect and conserve coastal areas is paramount to the work we do; equally important is our work to preserve safe access so that members of the public can appreciate these areas. While we are disappointed that a common understanding and agreement has not been reached at this time with this small group of individuals, we feel confident about our decision to proceed.
Regarding Gaff Point
One surprising critique being leveled at the KCC in this disagreement is that we are "promoting" Gaff Point in a manner inconsistent with our agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). This is not the case. As NCC notes on its website: "NCC is working in partnership with a local organization, the Kingsburg Coastal Conservancy, to care for the ecologically sensitive lands under our protection through our stewardship program. Through collaborations with the local community it is possible to conserve species, sites and habitats forever, and minimize damage caused by human disturbance while still allowing the public to access beautiful Gaff Point."
As with any conservation organization, both KCC and NCC websites have information on the lands they manage and steward, and each organization has a notation on Gaff Point. The stewardship agreement between KCC and NCC does not apply to or control for information provided by other sources, such as guide books, private nature-related websites, or even real-estate sites which often reference the proximity and beauty of Gaff Point and area beaches in promoting local properties for sale. NCC and KCC work closely on the protection of Gaff Point in a manner to balance its ecological needs with those of the public who have discovered this unique jewel.
As KCC members, your thoughts and opinions about this matter are important to the KCC Board. Please feel free to email us at email@example.com or to contact one of the board members listed below.
The KCC Board of Directors:
Bob Buckley, Chair
John Campbell, Secretary
Marilyn Congdon, Vice Chair
Ken Young, Treasurer
West Ironbound protected forever!
Saltscapes magazine's story of West Ironbound's lightkeepers from 1961 - 1966. "There were hardships, yes, but life was sweet . . . " So begins Saltscapes' first person feature.
WEST IRONBOUND: Portrait of an Island by Mariette Roodenburg, Christine Higdon and Larry Gaudet Click for details
Maps: Early history of the LaHave area.
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Dee Hilburt photo