By ROY WOOD
A large chunk of a popular Osoyoos beach will be closed off for the summer over fears that a retaining wall made unstable by last summer’s flooding could collapse on top of sunbathers.
Cottonwood Beach, across from the Sage Pub, will see the area adjacent to the Allen block wall cordoned off and sand trucked in to buttress the wall until its replacement can be completed, likely in late October.
Council’s decision this afternoon goes against the recommendation of operations director Jim Dinwoodie, who would have preferred to close the beach to the public entirely.
He said part of the attraction of the beach is that people can sit out of the sun in the shade of the wall. Policing a partial closure will be difficult, he said.
Councillor Brian Harvey told council he is concerned about having the beach closed during the peak tourist season. He pointed out that the winning bid for the wall-replacement contract is well below the amount budgeted for the project, leaving funds available for the extra costs of leaving the beach partially open.
The successful contractor is an Osoyoos company, Rocks ‘n’ Blocks, whose bid was $337,398, more than $110,000 below the next bidder.
Mayor Sue McKortoff was delighted that the local company secured the contract. “Most of the people in the company grew up here and went to school here,” she said.
Dinwoodie told council reconstruction of the wall is unlikely to begin until after the Labour Day weekend because of high lake levels in the work area. However, he said, if levels go down earlier than expected and the company is able to schedule it, the work could begin earlier.
The project will include replacing the steel handrails and resurfacing the area between the sidewalk and the wall with concrete.