From both cat and kayak out on the Bay, from every angle I try, the end of the Casino Pier, the end of the William's Pier, even from the bar and the patio dining at O'Maddy's, and On the Rocks, I can't get past that falling-apart-literally, 50-plus year-old, full-of-memories awning with the benches.
My dear friend Susan got sad when I mentioned that it should give way to a more view-friendly and ecofriendly boardwalk. She said that while she knew this was probably so, it was still a hard thing to consider. "I went there as a child. I remember going their with my mama. It has memories. As far back as I can remember, I remember that."
I completely understand but there comes a time when bits of roof are falling down into our beloved beach ecosystem, and when you can ball up your fist and stick it in between the two boards that are supposed to be firmly fastened flush against one another, that one must consider the options.
Do we repair this awning for memory's sake, continuing to obstruct a perfectly gorgeous view for everyone along our beach front? Or do we boldly move into the future by making the most of what we have while not doing it at the expense of what precious ecosystem remains?
From what I am able to gather thus far, if the boardwalk is constructed on concrete pilings rather than fabricated or treated timbers, and if it is open underneath instead of a wall, then it can serve to protect the natural ebb and flow of the beach and surf ecosystem while slowing or reducing erosion.
The sand will move in and out as it should. Foot traffic in the ecosytem could be better managed and directed. Trash that comes in with the tides wouldn't be so in your face because it would be underneath and easily collected at low tide.
As I also understand, this boardwalk could increase parking, too. It poses the potential to draw more people of ALL ages, in a still-slacking economy. By protecting our ecosystem, making it an attraction and providing a comfortable viewing platform with lots of parking and a pristine beachfront view no matter where you are sitting, we capitalize on what we have.
Our businesses would profit, our ecosystem would profit and so, our community would profit.
I am tapping into some forums asking people in other communities that have preceded us.
I ask that if any of you can find any research on this, please share so that everyone can form an educated opinion.
So far, a boardwalk looks like a win-win for everyone, including the planet.