Thursday, May 08, 2008

Public Beach: Could it Happen?

During the last week here in Bayview, Idaho, an idea has cropped up that has been raised for years. Bayview, kind of like strip cities that had grown up astride a major highway, didn't get planned. It just evolved. Starting out during the forties as a navy town, it became a spot for people that live elsewhere, to park a trailer or build a cabin for summer use. No provisions were ever made for public access to the lake, except in Farragut State park.

Recently, Ralph Jones, learning that Waterford Park Marinas had put five waterfront RV parking spots up for sale at a cool $99,000 each, decided to try to create a public beach. First, he went to the Engineer, employee of Waterford Park, Dennis Scott with the idea. He suggested that by donating, or at least lowering the price of the lots, people would step up with enough money to buy these out and create a public beach. Bob Holland, while not committing to anything, suggested he would be willing to talk.

Much would have to be done, both in the planning and acquisition stages, but the sea wall,according to the Idaho Department of Lands, which is an illegal encroachment into the lake bed, and Bayview Creek, which was also diverted, buried, piped and turned into an outlet pipe high above the lake level, needs to be made whole. Bayview needs a place for families to lie on the beach. All of this could happen, if, Kootenai County can find a way around the 25 foot setback for natural vegetation, which is a county ordinance. If, the ordinance has a variance clause, it may be possible to accomplish this. Department of Lands has been queried, and doesn't seem to have a problem.

The project is in it's early stages, but County commissioner, Rick Curry is looking into the plan, and seems to favor a County owned public beach if it can be accomplished. Ralph has bit off a big hunk with this dream. One can only hope that it comes to reality.


Anonymous said...

How does one sell off the waterfront and still get to have a marina on the lake in from off all the sold off property?

Anonymous said...

LOVE THE IDEA.... but not a good location. We have a boat at Boileau's Marina and there is a lot of boat traffic and at times floating oil/gas and debris right where you are talking. There is not enough space for both boats and swimmers PLUS there are too many Yahoo's out there drinking beer and ignoring the no wake rules. The safety of children should come first.

Anonymous said...

There has got to be someplace else away from the boat traffic for swimming. I cannot imagine letting my children or my grand-children swimming through the gas and oil left from boat travel. This is a beautiful, wonderful idea that Ralph has but the location does not seem logical to me.


Anonymous said...

The Bayview kid's have always swam at the public boat launch area. Our friendly float home owners chase kid's off their docks. If boats are polluting the lake with gas and oil and I do think this is illegal; then perhaps the Chamber should start a group to police lake polluters and see to it that they are fined. I doubt that this pollution is healthy for the spawning areas as well. I think Ralph's idea is terrific and I know that the kid's in Bayview would love it.

Anonymous said...

This is a great location for a beach for Bayview:
1) It always was the beach before before the illegal sea wall. (See historic photos at Ralph's or Bayview Historical Society Photos.
2) The creek was a spawing area that keeps the beach flush with fresh water. It was canned in a tube for no good reason.
3)The pilings can remain and a doc will keep swimmers and boaters safe from each other.
4) Currently kids and dogs swim at the boat launch with props turning and people backing trucks at them. This is much more dangerous AND puts more oil and gas on swimmers skin.
5)The natural buffer requirment is not a problem because the historical photos clearly show a sand and gravel beach.
6) Preliminary analysis of the site determined that the required buffer, reasonable parking, some picnic beach, a wide wading area and plenty of room to swim laps along the swim dock that separate swimmers and boaters is feasible.
7) Mr. Holland can only benefit from allowing children access to the lake, in town, without danger.
8) This can be a very low cost major Bayview improvement with long range benefits to all who enjoy Bayview in the future.

Anonymous said...

I still don't agree that this is the best place for a public beach. Our boat is parked in the channel itself and we are very close to where the beach would be located. The area is to confined and very small area for swimming. You know that means people will break the rules and swim in the channel itself. There are rows of boat sheds on both sides just feet away from the proposed area. I can not honestly think that Kootenai Co. would approve of the location. I really do LOVE the idea but lets find a much safer location for all.