Town encouraging visitors to act responsibly; may add fence to parking lot
Middle Cove Beach can look great on any day — even a foggy one — but the town wants to make it safer for those who visit. — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram
Though some progress has been made over the last few years, the Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove is still dealing with late night fires and safety hazards caused by litter on Middle Cove Beach.
Town manager Adele Carruthers told The Telegram Friday morning that beach visitors enjoy setting up fires in the evening. While that’s fine with the town, she cautions that people should think about what sort of materials they use.
“The issues that we encounter usually are fires that tend to be too large, and I think everybody knows what is a comfortable bonfire, and just for the neighbouring patrons, sometimes there are people who bring down construction debris or things that are perhaps inappropriate for burning. Because of that, the fires tend to get large.”
Wood with nails is particularly problematic, she said, because nails do not burn and get left behind on the beach.
“It’s really unfortunate, because then the next day you get families with children who are running barefoot in the sand, and there is a safety concern there.”
Similar concerns revolve around broken bottles. On a quick visit to the beach Friday morning, one could find evidence of broken beer bottles left behind.
Along those rules posted at the beach concerning the use of proper wood is one on the use of glass at the beach, which is prohibited.
“We’re asking if they can use cans, which are less destructive than glass,” said Carruthers.
Dealing with those issues at the beach has proven costly for the town — it hires a security company every summer to look after the beach in the evenings seven days a week, working from the beginning of June until the Labour Day weekend. Last year, Carruthers said the town spent more than $13,000 on security, a summer hire for beach cleanup, and on new lights for the beach parking lot.
“The main point of having a security guard there is really to bring awareness and education to the patrons of the beach about the fact we do have rules, and we would like them to adhere to those rules, just for the safety of everybody.”
The town has also made use of a Green Team in the past through Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador to help clean litter and plant trees. Carruthers said some trees on land beside the beach have been cut for firewood.
Since the town first started hiring summer security, Carruthers said there is a greater awareness on responsible use of the beach.
“For the most part, people who were going there are tourists and families. I think they welcome the presence of somebody there. For those who perhaps may have been interested in more of a rowdy or party time late at night, they realize it can’t occur, certainly not in the presence of security personnel.”
Preliminary discussions am-ongst councillors have also taken place concerning the possibility of adding a fence and gate to the parking lot. Carruthers said the town would likely lock the gate at midnight in order to deter overnight beach usage.
In a recent interview with The Telegram, Mayor John Kennedy said people from outside the community far outweigh locals when it comes to use of the beach.
“I would guess it’s one of the most popular beaches in the St. John’s area, because of the close proximity and the fact it has a great parking area there,” said Carruthers. “Because of that, it’s very busy. Any given night, for sure, in the summer, you can see upwards of 15 bonfires and hundreds of people there. I don’t think it’s ever going to decrease in numbers. If anything, it’s going to increase.”
Council is also considering adding bathrooms and a canteen to the beach. A company has been contracted to complete a concept design, after which the town will look for funding partners.
In a recent interview with The Telegram, Mayor John Kennedy said people from outside the community use the beach far more than locals.