No extra town cash for a cleaner beach

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

On the town council agenda for discussion last week was the matter of Devonshire Beach. Specifically – what is council’s appetite for putting town resources into a cleaner beach? Not that great, it turns out.

This is the matter that councillor Brice Ferguson brought to the forefront in the past few months, following a campaign pledge. Most councillors, it’s fair to say, think less weeds, willows and driftwood on the beach would be good for tourism. How to achieve that is the tricky question.

There was some new information for council to consider at its Feb. 13 meeting. One of the possibilities is to invest in a machine attachment that grooms sand and separates debris at the same time. Councillors Darin Busk, Brice Ferguson and Shawn Gramlich seemed in favour of looking into it further. But leading the anti-spending argument, mayor Warman reminded his colleagues of the great efforts council recently made to avoid increases to the budget. If the town’s regional partners were willing to put some cash towards a cleaner Devonshire Beach, he’d feel differently about it, he said. But the M.D. isn’t willing to do that. Nor is the province willing to spend more than it already is.

In the meantime, Warman continued, Alberta Parks has agreed to put up more signs. And a ‘beach clean-up day’ is being organized for this spring. Let’s see how those things turn out.

Councillors Joy McGregor and Julie Brandle supported Warman’s position. Let’s see how the steps that are being taken work out before talking about spending more money, said McGregor, who also had a few things to say about lack of ‘community buy-in’ when it comes to littering. Councillor Rebecca King expressed support for that position as well.

Ferguson wasn’t satisfied.

“Community clean-up doesn’t get rid of the weeds,” he said.

However, no motion was made or voted on. Which means for the time being, whatever program for grooming two 400-metre sections of the beach the Parks people have in place will be as good as it gets. Plus the community clean-up.

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