Posted: Sep 16, 2011 12:20 AM by Shawn Kline
Updated: Sep 16, 2011 4:53 AM
The end is near for Holly Beach as you know it. At least, that's one some people think about a new plan to restore one of the state's only white sand beaches.
Some residents are raising a sandstorm over the project funded by $45-million worth of state surplus funds from 2007.
"We're building them a beach they can enjoy." Project Engineer Rudy Simoneaux says, "some of the parts right now, they can't enjoy- they're against the highway."
It's no secret: parts of the coast are disappearing at a rate of up to 30-feet every year. Simoneaux says this plan would keep Holly Beach "as-is" for at least the next two-decades by importing dredged sand and extending the beach.
That of course, is a long permiting process due to the location of some of the sand deposits. Simoneaux says the presence of endangered sea turtles is just one of the reasons the project may not begin until 2012.
The beach restoration would also feature four-foot levee-like protection zones called dunes.
"That would help with incidental storms," Simoneaux said. "Not hurricanes, not storm surge but every-day occurances."
It's in the placement of the dunes where campers and vacationers see an issue.
"They're redoing it but it's like a brand new living room," Linda Mathiew said. "It's real pretty, but you can't touch it."
As it stands today, visitors can park right on the beach. However once the dune is installed, the beach would be restricted to walkers only. Engineers say opening the beach to traffic again would make the project ineffective because vehicles can aid to the deterioration of the beach and would certainly diminish the effectiveness of the dune if vehicles are driving over it.
Mathiew says that would mean "no visitors" to Holly Beach because there's no public parking- just private homes and camps.
"If this project goes through as planned, Holly Beach, as we have known it, will no longer exist," she said.
Engineers say Cameron Parish would be required to supply any public parking for access to the beach and local authorities would enforce it.
Some beach-goers like Mathiew however, insist the project would take away the only public parking spot on the map.