Beach grooming trial carried out
by Sandy Lindsay

August 3, 2016

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Jack Burrows (L) of the Town of Saugeen Shores and Derek Brooker from the Barber Co. explain the grooming machine to councilors and Beachers Association members

The Sure Rake begins ...

... leaving a smooth path in its wake

Port Elgin Beachers Association has been voicing concerns over the lack of beach grooming in Port Elgin and Gobles Grove and, on Wednesday, August 3rd, in the early morning, Association members, the Mayor and councilors for the ward attended a trial beach grooming.

(L-R) Greg Shmaltz, John Kyles, Wayne McGrath, Mayor Mike Smith and Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau (R) gathered to see the test

The Barber Sure Rake was brought in to test out its effectiveness on the wet sand of the Port Elgin Beach.  It has been used in Southampton but, because the texture of the Port Elgin sand is very different, the unit had to be tested.  Prior to the Sure Rake doing its job, the town tilled the beach sand to loosen it first.

The sand was tilled - even between the 'swing' posts

The Barber unit owned and operated by Sam Snobelen and Paul McDonald of Huron-Kinloss operates as a beach cleaner for municipalities from Grand Bend in the south to Southampton in Saugeen Shores.

The unit is a 'high-dump' (HD) hydraulic driven raking system that it is mounted behind a tractor of at least 60Hp.  With some 500 stainless steel 'teeth', it not only rakes the sand but picks up various items of debris and vegetation and deposits the refuse into a hopper while filtering the sand back on to the beach.

Stainless steel 'teeth' comb the beach

Debris is moved up and into the hopper ...

... where debris, sticks and vegetation are collected

Sure Rake began when Huron-Kinloss was having a significant algae problem.  Snobelen and McDonald agreed to buy the unit that would then be 'on call' as a clean-up system and they then expanded into surrounding municipalities along the Lake Huron coast.

In addition to pulling plant algae out of the water's edge, the unit also smooths out 'ruts' and 'gullies' that have been created by rainwater wash-outs.

Wash-out being filled in and smoothed over

Click the orange arrow to read the second column

John Kyles, past President of the Beachers Association and Dave Myette, Councilor representing Saugeen Township

Further south along the shoreline is Gobles Grove, where residents have long advocated for a major beach clean-up.

The shore is a 'catch-all' for debris given the water currents and bay affect of the shoreline in the area. 

Approximately 50 residents have signed a petition asking the town to take action on the beach area with a clean-up endeavour.  "Perhaps, this machine, the Sure Rake, is the answer," said John Kyles, past-President of the Beachers Association. "It's at least worth a try."

Gobles Grove south is a vegetative 'mess'...

... where sharp sedge grass has taken a stronghold grip

The machine leasing cost is $100 per hour and Council now has to consider whether it will be included in budget deliberations that begin in the fall.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2016