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Sand Hills beach reopened for swimming

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  August 6, 2011 07:14 PM

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Shifting rocks at the end of the Garrett Road ramp to Minot Beach created unsafe conditions. (Photo provided by Scituate Board of Selectmen)

Sand Hills beach was reopened to swimming Saturday, when the latest testing of water samples showed contamination of 10 bacteria colonies per 100 milliliters of water.

The beach has been closed twice this summer, when bacteria levels far exceed the 104 colonies per 100 milliliter standard.

The news wasn't so good at Minot Beach, where Scituate officials last week decided to close the southern portion of the entrance to the beach for the remainder of the summer.

According to Patricia Vinchesi, town administrator, the sea rocks at the bottom of the ramp at the end of Gannett Road leading on to Minot have continually shifted, creating a large gap between the rocks and ramp.

Not only has the area been dangerous to people who have stumbled over the gap, but the space is not visible at high tide, creating a risk for people who might become stuck.

Although there has a lifeguard stationed there for the past three weeks to keep people from using the ramp, and although the entrance has been closed during high tide, there have still been an injury reported as a result of the shifting rocks.

“In interest of public safety, we’ve closed the ramps,” Vinchesi said.

Northern access to the beach is available by stairs, officials said..

Although the town has tried to push the rock back in place to prevent people from falling between the crack, “the ocean keeps pushing it back where it wants it,” Vinchesi said.

“There is no easy or short-term solution to this, and we are being deliberative in exploring available options,” Vinchesi wrote in a town administrator report. “Some alternatives have already been proposed and are under review, most likely involving the construction of a new entrance. Cost estimates will not be inexpensive however, and all are in excess of $10,000.”

Although there is still a month left to the warm summer weather, Selectmen Chairman Anthony Vegnani commended the action.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

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