Surf Reef Could Soon Be Making Bigger Waves

It looks like improvements to the Boscombe Surf Reef could go ahead.

At a meeting last night Members of the Economy & Tourism Overview & Scrutiny Panel recommended to councillors in Bournemouth that they should allow the company ASR to try and get it creating bigger waves. To do this they’ll place four bags against the base of the reef in the fast and closing out area of the right-hand wave. Three pillow bags would also be added to create a gentler slope on the reef, and a better managed wave. 

The Panel is recommending this as the best option for achieving the key outstanding performance issue.

In a 2 ½ hour meeting, the Panel also recommended that Cabinet authorises officers to negotiate the release of up to £77,500 of the retained £150,000 performance-related monies, towards the cost of the refinement works, but only on completion of those works and upon early receipt of evidence of an improved right-hand breaking wave. 

Chairman of the Panel Cllr Robert Chapman, said, “It was important tonight that we heard all points of view, in particular regarding the legal and financial options available to us in terms of payment or otherwise to ASR.  Whilst we acknowledge that there are no guarantees that the technical solution proposed by ASR will achieve the desired performance, we accepted the views of the experts, including Dr Mark Davidson from Plymouth University’s School of Marine Science & Engineering, that it represents the best chance of achieving improved surfing on the reef.” 

Cllr Chapman continued, “We are also recommending that a proportion of the performance-related payment is released to ASR on completion of the works.  As a Panel we believe that this represents the most practical way of ensuring ASR return and complete the agreed works, gives the best return on the financial investment already made by the Council, and retains a significant sum to be payable only following a further period of performance monitoring once the works are complete.”

Tony Williams, Executive Director for Environment and Economy said,

“Officers will now discuss with ASR the timetable for the refinement works.  ASR have already stated their commitment to Boscombe’s surf reef, and I know they are keen to return and make the required modifications. 

We anticipate that, subject to successful discussions, that work will take place in summer 2011.  This will allow us to get evidence of improved performance very soon after completion of the remedial works, subject to the prevailing surfing conditions arriving as expected in the autumn.”