Charles B. Robertson 0

Save the Slab - Fenwick's only foundation on the water

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Last week the Fenwick Burgesses voted to remove the concrete slab at the beginning of the pier on the beach. We saw some flaws with the process and some inaccuracies, so we have asked for a new vote. 

Please sign at the bottom if you believe the slab is worth saving. 


1. ITS THE ENVY OF OTHER COMMUNITIES. A permanent foundation so close to the water is a rarity which cannot be built due to environmental regulation and zoning laws. Communities now use temporary decking because they did not have the foresight to build a slab when it were possible. Now, our foundation is the envy of those communities (ask Knollwood).

2. ITS A TROOPER. The slab always survives, even through the 1938 hurricane. Replacing it with temporary decks to be installed and removed every season or storm is a step in the wrong direction. We will be resigning ourselves to dragging around the temporary decks for the next century.

3. YEAR ROUND ENJOYMENT. Not a big deal for the summer folks, but people live here in the spring, fall, and winter too. The slab is pretty nice spot year round.

4. WE HAVE BEACH, lots and lots of beach. The approximately 900 square feet of beach that is opened by removing the slab seems trivial when we have so much everywhere else.

5. ITS THE PLACE TO BE. The picnic tables on the slab are under greater demand than space in the sand.

6. SAFETY FIRST (or is that sixth). Parents and lifeguards on the proposed platforms would be uncomfortable being twice as far from children playing at the water’s edge. The lifeguard chair was positioned on the slab this summer for a high vantage point over the water.

7. MORE ON SAFETY. The slab is wheelchair, golf cart, and emergency vehicle accessible. The temporary decking is not ADA compliant.

8. LOW CARRYING COST. The slab is maintenance free and remains permanent with almost no effort or cost. (Notwithstanding an approaching one-time fee associated with restoring the foundation of the slab - not bad for a century of endurance.) 

9. HISTORIC VALUE. The foundation of the slab dates back to the old Fenwick Boat House built circa 1890. That slab has seen a lot of Fenwick generations.


   - They are expensive, and need to be replaced occasionally.
   - They are subject to seasonal and storm installation and removal.
   - They need a lot more maintenance than concrete
   - You have to store them somewhere during storms, fall, winter, and spring.
   - Sand moves, making the platforms uneven or wobbly throughout the season. 


We try to understand both sides of the argument, and there are some valid points. This is what we hear: 

1. It opens about 900 square feet of beach. Its true, but points 4 through 7 show why we don't find this compelling. 

2. Washout occurs behind the slab following a major storm. We can't argue with that, but we can argue that this is easily solved by dumping in sand as needed. Compared to the ongoing expense, maintenance, and occasional replacement cost of the temporary platforms, this seems a minor inconvenience.

3. The temporary decks will be more beautiful. We don't agree with this one. The beauty will disappear when joints get uneven, decks get wobbly, and maintenance issues aren't quickly resolved. Further, with minimal expense the existing slab can be made substantially more attractive - you could even put decking over it. 

 ACT FOR THE LONG TERM. Please make your voice heard to keep the slab.


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