Source article: Project magazine Issue 231, pages 32 to 35.
Surfer David Weight’s vision of an artificial reef for Bournemouth has been realised. In September 2009 the reef, designed and installed by ASR Limited of New Zealand, was completed and the first of its kind in Europe. Although the cost of the reef was £3M, this only represents the tip of the iceberg of the funds that have been spent on the re-generation of the Boscombe Bay community – in total over £63M (Public £14.5M & £48.8M Private money).
For all of the success lauded on to the re-generation project as a whole (accolades include the Local Government Chronichle Regeneration Award and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors South West Region award for Regeneration), there remains a problem with the reef itself, or rather the wave it spournes. Roger Brown, Director of Leisure Services at Bournemouth Council, was interviewed by Project magazine in their August / September 2010 issue and is cited as saying that… “The reef is producing a surfing wave, but that the wave is quite steep and breaks fairly quickly so is at a degree of difficulty that is higher than most people are competent to use. The challenge is to reshape the wave so that it produces a longer ride on a consistent basis.”
A plan to re-model the reef in April 2011 is due to be issued in October 2010 following discussions between the Council and the reef builder ASR Ltd – who are being witheld £150k under the original contract. As well as setting up a Task and Finish Group who are helping to formulate the future plan, the Council will continue with the services of Dr Mark Davidson of Plymouth University, who reported on the initial reef performance, to vet the new proposals and to technically discuss issues with ASR.
Although there is disappointment as to the reef’s current perfomance, there is much to commend the Council’s vision and determined efforts to successfully regenerate the area of Boscombe Bay.
Reef construction and history:
How the locals feel about the reef: