Toms River will spend $92,000 to rebuild wooden dune walkovers in Ortley Beach that were destroyed during several winter storms.
The move elicited a negative response from Ken Langdon, chair of the Ortley Beach Liaison Committee, who also told member of the township council at a recent meeting that they should rethink their approach to maintaining the beach now that the spring tides have arrived.
Langdon said that with the annual accretion of sand that lengthens the beach with the spring tide cycle, the township should take the opportunity to “scarf,” or push back, the sand to help build a dune line.
“Without scarfing the beach and building the dunes, we’re going to be subjected to the same thing that happened this past weekend,” he said, referencing an April storm that necessitated additional deliveries of sand to Ortley Beach’s badly-battered oceanfront.
Lou Amoruso, Toms River Public Works Director, said 90 percent of Ortley Beach “is in excellent shape” and moving sand back from the beach berm would likely prove to be a waste of time.
“Scarfing needs the proper conditions,” said Amoruso. “When the sand is moving in on its own, and building the beach the way it is, there’s no need to mess with Mother Nature. No matter how many machines we put up there, we cannot match what the ocean can do on its own.”
The township recently spent about $250,000 to add sand to the beachfront near the area of the Golden Gull condominium building, where several pilings that support the structure were in active contact with waves during a storm on April 8.
The natural spring accretion of sand, Langdon said, “builds the beach, but does not build the dunes,” reiterating his request that the building sand be moved back toward the dune line.
In an e-mail sent out by the Ortley Beach Liaison Committee, Langdon also took issue with the walkover expenditure.
“These monstrosities which came into vogue in 2000, were a bad dream that turned into a nightmare,” Langdon wrote, claiming that they have been rebuilt nine times over the past 10 years. Also, he said, the walkovers shouldn’t be reconstructed since they will likely be removed when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers places more standardized, sloped and angled entrances to the beach during an upcoming replenishment project, which is expected to go out to bid this summer.
Langdon said sand walkovers with mats, similar to those used by Brick Township, would be preferable and make it easier to transport beach gear onto the sand.
“With proper beach maintenance, this mode of access with rubber mating could be accommodated for a onetime expenditure of a few thousand dollars,” Langdon wrote.