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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

How much does sand cost?

Here at Extremehorizon, we've watched with interest, the story of the UKs first artificial reef in Bournemouth on Englands South Coast. It was a brave decision by their council to proceed with this project as no doubt it met a lot of opposition. Unfortunately anyone opposing the reef will have more fuel following the news from Fridays Guardian newspaper (below), about the rising costs of the project.

I really hope that the reef works and cost don't spiral too far, as the decision to construct it took a giant leap of faith and foreward thinking. If it does work as planned, it will put Boscombe on the map and boost the local economy. We'll be watching closely:

"Shifting sands swell the cost of UK's first artificial surf reef

If all had gone to plan surfers would by now be whizzing into a Bournemouth beach on waves boosted by Britain's first artificial surf reef. Instead, taxpayers face a bill of almost a quarter of a million pounds to stop the project blowing away.

The reef at Boscombe, east of the main town of Bournemouth, in Dorset, was due to be completed in the autumn but rain and winds halted the construction.

Work is due to resume in April and finish by the summer's end. But the delay has inflated the reef's price and Bournemouth borough council says £169,000 has to be found to replace sand brought in for its construction on the seabed but lost to the elements over the winter.

Flattening the temporary dune to protect it from the wind and tides would cost a further £70,000, says a report due to be seen by the local authority next week. Besides this, £100,000 is reportedly needed to help pay the contractors, ASR.

Originally the price of the reef project was estimated at £1.4m. By last summer it was up to £2.7m and, following the winter delay, it is now at the £3m mark.

It could also cost as much as £100,000 a year to maintain the reef, and the cost of the wider regeneration project for Boscombe has also risen, to £11m.

Basil Ratcliffe, a Tory councillor, said: "Someone should be given the bullet over this ... these are big sums that could have been spent on something else."

The report defends the soaring price, saying the reef is a complex marine structure. A council spokeswoman said: "The council has set aside ... £169,000 but it might not need to buy this much [sand]."

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