Special to The Lake Report
What the heck happened at Ball’s Beach this summer?
In July we were swimming off the rocks, much like past years. Then, within five or six weeks, there were elegantly placed shoreline stabilization refrigerator rocks, a big and bending groyne to lessen erosion and a cute little beach for swimming in the famous Niagara River.
Yes, readers, you read that correctly. A public sector project completed in a timely fashion.
How did that happen? How did it happen so fast? Who should we thank, whose backs should we be patting? Encomiums to the town and to what companies?
Back in August, I spoke briefly with a site supervisor from Rankin Construction. Think his name was Mike Thompson/Thomson. If any company could get this job done in a timely fashion, it would be Rankin, I thought.
This story is not meant to be a panegyric, but just think of the bureaucratic bodies that had to be co-ordinated. A nightmare! A veritable quagmire. Forms to fill out, meetings, approvals, sign-offs. Interjurisdictional turf battles. Yikes, I’m getting a headache.
How about the much appreciated thoughtfulness from the contracting team. Each weekend, they didn’t just fence off the work area, with cold No Trespassing signs and yellow plastic perimeter tape. They put up handwritten Sharpie signs on bristol board, “Do Not Climb on the Rocks.”
The workers took time to provide trail access to the water, so we could have a swim or a bath/shampoo in the refreshing clear water just before the river flowed into Lake Ontario. Those were hot, humid days and what a delight it was to have a swim.
People visiting from other areas thought they had found a piece of paradise for their picnics and swims. Very cool and welcoming, eh? Such a kind and genteel act, which made the global pandemic summer a tad more pleasant. It was easy to physically distance at Ball’s Beach, so we all felt good.
But how about the future parking congestion down in the Dock Area on weekends? Will it become Ryerson Park/Chautauqua on steroids? Toilet facilities? Noise? Music? Tenting? Hibachis, wee BBQs? FUN! Yes, fun! Pass a bylaw.
Water draws people, both local residents and visitors. New Canadians from around the world will find the new and improved Ball’s Beach. That darned internet, eh? The experts will figger it out and manage yet another positive problem.
Swimming and sunbathing on an international border, with Fort Niagara across the river, and yachts, paddle boarders and kayakers floating by. Who needs to go to the Caribbean? We have our slice of heaven right here in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
In closing, may yer humble scribbler sincerely thank the folks who worked hard and skilfully to get the Ball’s Beach job done. Very impressive and professional.