On September 22 the City Council heard a briefing from Mr. Philip Roehrs concerning an alternate plan being moved forward for replenishment of the bay beaches. In this proposal sand dredged from Norfolk Harbor will be used to replenish Cape Henry, Ocean Park and Chesapeake Beaches.
The advantage of the new proposal would be the significantly lower cost to the city.
Several disadvantages were also cited. The timeline of this project would push back replenishment of the Ocean Park Beach until beyond Nov. 2022. The dredging work would begin in Nov. of 2021. In Nov. 2022, according to the timetable in the presentation (slide 10), they will “initiate agreement with Corps of Engineers for the placement of sand.” It is not clear when sand placement would actually happen. Several other concerns were mentioned: the product of dredging may not be acceptable for beach use. “Material quality and quantity is not yet confirmed”. Another disadvantage (slide 8) mentioned in the presentation: “Norfolk also has plans to use sand from the project; final available volume for Virginia Beach may not achieve all goals.”
Following the presentation there were some follow up questions. Councilwoman Barbara Henley asked whether Ocean Park residents are expecting to have relief sooner. Mr. Roehrs replied that they have been in touch with the Civic League. OPCL has received updates on the bidding process for the stand alone Ocean Park beach replenishment, however not about this alternate plan. Mr. Roehrs said that the Ocean Park beach has a “robust dune system” and implied that this means Ocean Park could wait with no ill effects. Mr. Moss noted that beach replenishment is also part of flood control and therefore important. Mayor Dyer indicated his awareness the the dunes were unstable. The stated purpose of the update briefing was “seeking informal Council concurrence to proceed with negotiations on a Memorandum of Agreement with the Virginia Port Authority.” Concurrence to proceed was implied though no roll call vote was taken. This would mean deferral and probably suspension of the rebid of the Ocean Park project which Mr. Roehrs said was slated for a Dec. 2020 timeframe.
Here is a copy of the slide presentation about the project: http://Presentation to City Council Beach Replenishment
Residents who would like to express an opinion on the choice between this project and the stand alone Ocean Park Beach Replenishment can contact:
Robert Dyer, Mayor email@example.com
City Council Members CityCouncil@vbgov.com
Patrick Duhaney, City Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Our beach is nearly non-existent at high tide. The dunes are eroding at an alarming wait. Holding off on sand replenishment could be detrimental to the homes behind the dunes as well as having little to no beach to enjoy throughout the year. We also want quality sand similar to the sand we currently have. Let us stay with the original plan. “You get what you pay for.” Less is not necessarily better.