Bay Beach Overkill

Jun 27, 2018

To the Editor:

Once upon a time there was a little bay beach in Beach Haven Terrace. Parents brought their children to splash in the warm and shallow water. It was just big enough to spread a few towels in the sand next to the kids’ toys and tubes. At high tide, you could move your chairs back to a small wall that you could step over if necessary. There was a wooden gazebo where you could sit and watch boating on the bay.

I don’t know why I am writing this in past tense as if it’s gone. It’s still there, but it looks completely different. Over the winter it was transformed into a sort of showplace.

There had been a small wooden ramp that served as an access to the gazebo. It was an entrance used by people, some on bikes or pulling wagons. The new ramp is much larger and can accommodate wheelchairs. Perhaps the old ramp was too small so this is a good improvement. It is important to give everyone access. Was it necessary, however, to provide three more sets of stairs to this minuscule spot of sand? Talk about overkill!

A small wall surrounded the small sand beach, and unless you were infirm, it was easy to get to the sand. Now there are three sets of stairs to reach the water.

Sometimes you saw a few kayakers launching their small crafts at the unused end of the beach. This rather large new wall is probably meant to discourage small crafts. Now there is a sign that states “Welcome to The Long Beach Township Beach” and seven smaller signs to remind you to pick up dog poop. As unappealing as they are, I guess you can never have enough signs about that.

I enjoyed watching my grandchildren bathing in the warm, shallow water there over the years. It was a rite of passage to learn to swim in the shallow water and not be upset when you would surface with a mound of eelgrass on your head or feet.

Sadly, that very small beach has almost disappeared. Whether it just seems smaller due to all the white plastic surrounding it, who knows? Perhaps it’s just erosion or the overly wide new wall. All that white vinyl does dazzle the eye, but not in a good way.

There are two ramps to access this tiny area, which uses a mountain of serious plastic. In my not-so-humble opinion, it is definitely overdone and a waste of township taxpayers’ money.

The once simple bayside beach looks like something that belongs in an amusement park. Its natural beauty has disappeared. The very large lifeguard stand is in the street due to the disappearing beachfront. Why all this fuss and bother? Sometimes things are better left alone. Thankfully, the lovely, old gazebo was not replaced with a new vinyl addition. Bigger and grander is not always better. This is a good example of how to ruin a perfectly nice bay beach.

Kathleen Donnelly

Beach Haven Terrace

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