Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dumping Sand On The Shore Line At Your Cottage Is It A Good Idea?


I want to put sand at the shoreline of my cottage so that I don’t have to walk over the rocks, is that a good idea?


Putting sand at your shoreline to cover up rocks is a great idea, it allows easier access into the water without you having to walk over rocks that can be hard on the feet, it can help your property value as your shoreline looks cleaner and more appealing. It also makes a much more enjoyable area for little kids to play in the shallow water where it they don't have to worry about what they are stepping on in bare feet.

Having said all that, there are some major problems and concerns with dumping sand at your shoreline;

If your cottage is in an area where there is naturally rock and not sand then it is probably illegal to dump sand at the shoreline or at least restricted. You will probably require permission from the local municipality, conservation authority and/or native tribes depending on where you are located and what jurisdiction you are under.

Dumping sand in the water where it naturally is not can be hard on the local natural ecosystem. The ecosystem (including the living animals and pants) has adapted to living and surviving in rock or the existing mud bottom, when you add something as different as sand you change that environment completely. This can affect fish stocks and the food that they rely on to eat. You could also be inviting certain invasive species to take up residence in-front of your cottage.

Depending on how much movement there is in the water you can end up losing a lot of the sand after every storm. This means that you end up in a cycle where you are endlessly dumping more sand at the shoreline to replace the sand that you lost last season. The movement of the water especially in the great lakes can be so forceful that you could lose a large portion of your sand every year. It is not uncommon for the water to rise 6" to 12" in a large summer storm, that raising and lowering of water levels pulls the sand off the shoreline and into the deeper water.

Depending on the type of sand you want it can cost you a lot of money in trucking to have it delivered, real beach sand can be hard to find especially if you are in an area that is mostly rock.

Most cottages do not own their shorelines, usually cottage lots end somewhere near the water, that means that you are not dumping the sand on your own property. Even if you don’t require permission to dump sand at the shoreline you still could end up in trouble as you don’t own the land where you are dumping your sand.

Before you go and start creating the perfect beach at your cottage you should take some time and look into the legal ramifications of what you are about to get yourself into. It doesn't cost anything to call your local municipality and ask about the rules, you won't have to give your name or address. This simple phone call can save you a world or headaches.

You should also consider the effect on the natural environment, the whole reason that people have cottages is to get back in touch with nature and the natural setting. If you go and change it all to a pristine neutral environment then what’s the point in having a cottage in the first place? Remember that cottages are about being outside and being able to relax, If you spend all your time working on the sand beach (shoveling, raking and cleaning) then you will not be able to enjoy it.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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