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Govt and GSD clash over Camp Bay

Gale Force Levanter Winds 29-01-2018 (Photo John Bugeja) scaffolding collapses on St Annes's School gym. Heavy winds also causing damage to Notre Dame School. Civil Contingencies Committee focusing on coordinating traffic throughout.

The Gibraltar Government and GSD clashed over the condition of Camp Bay yesterday, with the opposition party insisting the area was in ‘a state of disrepair’ while the Government claimed improvements were well underway.

The GSD initiated the exchange with a statement claiming the condition of Camp Bay, used year round by so many in the community, has reached “an all-time low”.

The Government, however, flagged how badly Gibraltar’s beaches have been hit storms this past winter and early spring, causing significant damage and making the challenge this year all the greater.
Railings were destroyed, rocks washed away and concrete slabs thrust up onto the recreational areas.

But works to repair and make good are now well under way, the Government stated.

The GSD, however, claimed that remedial works have fallen far short of the expected standard.

It added that the children’s playground is also in an unacceptable condition.

“The children's attractions appear unsafe and if they are to continue to be used, repairs must be made immediately.”

“The fencing around the park is rusty and potentially dangerous.”

“The concrete flooring is in an abysmal state and the repairs that are being carried out, as is the case in so much of Gibraltar under this Government, is a patch up job giving the area a depressing air of shoddiness with cracks, dirt and crumbling concrete.”

The rock retention surrounding the Promenade suffered damage as a result of the winter storms, it is therefore right for the Government to expand and secure the area.

However, in doing so, it could have explored the possibility of providing additional protection for the little beach that is left at Camp Bay.

By providing a cove for the beach, a sandy beach might be retained.

It would be right for the Government to examine this possibility as part of the present works and provide a much improved facility for our community.

Trevor Hammond said: “The Government should consider improvements to this much loved and much used area.”

“Our community is not blessed with large numbers of open spaces and we should be nurturing those we have.”

“It is unforgivable that this area should have deteriorated to the point where there is risk to users and in particular children.”

“Families should be able to enjoy the area of Camp Bay year round and provisions for maintenance should be made accordingly.”

“I would add that it is regrettable that Camp Bay has been turned into a construction site at the commencement of the summer season, having had all year to refurbish the area. It shows a lack of planning and foresight.”

In a statement the Government explained that flooring and railings severely damaged by the stormy weather have been repaired and replaced.

The rock revetment was particularly badly hit but now the entire Camp Bay Rock revetment has been redesigned, improved and re-laid after having its structural integrity compromised as result of damages caused by storms, it added.

The new revetment will encompass newly designed access points to accommodate the beach stairs on the main promenade.

The Keys Promenade Pier has also been severely undermined by constant wave action.

This pier will be repaired and made good for safe use in time for the official bathing season.

Repairs have been made to the many defects on the main surfaces of Camp Bay and the whole area will now be freshly painted.

The three traditional dolphins, which have now been considerably damaged, will shortly be replaced.

In addition, sand will be placed in the small beach area in order to replenish what has been washed away and as a trial to attempt to extend the size of the beach slightly this year.

Minister for the Environment, John Cortes, said: “The weather this year has once again been severe and has caused a great deal of damage.”

“But I am very pleased that the repairs we are carrying out will correct this and indeed improve the safety of the site and the enjoyment of all the many beach goers who use the area.”

“I am really grateful to the team members in the Department of the Environment and Climate Change and Technical Services for their work in making this happen.”

Pic by Johnny Bugeja

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