Beautification of the Elliot’s Beach stretch

Geeta Padmanabhan, who, besides writing for the Hindu Metroplus, blogs about Chennai, stories and many other stuff at Grandma’s Tales. She writes:

One of the things I fail to understand in life is why people want to build structures to “beautify” a place. Especially beaches. To me keeping a place absolutely clean, litter-free, is keeping it beautiful. Fewer the structures, all those tasteless brick squares, the better. A grove of shady trees, grass underfoot, a river gurgling by, and a hazy mountain in the distance, that’s “beauty” for me. What is it for you?
A beach is beautiful because it has sand. It has a walkable waterfront. From a distance you can see the frothing or calm water, see its colour change with the season, watch the distant ships. You enjoy the breeze. I don’t know how anyone can make the beach beautiful or “convenient” for the elderly by adding concrete structures to the stand.

Apparently, the Chennai Corporation is planning to improve the sandy stretch. Their plans include a mini auditorium, walkways, gardens and the like.

As can be expected, some people believe in not fixing something if it is not broken. A few people have banded together and working hard to ensure that nothing damages the face of the beach.

I do agree, ugly concrete structures don’t beautify a beach. But I will reserve my judgement till I actually see the corporation’s full plans. Meanwhile, do read up on this at Geeta’s blog…

4 Comments so far

  1. randomguy (unregistered) on February 16th, 2007 @ 7:05 pm

    Well, you can’t siphon much money off “keeping the beach litter-free”. If it involves some construction, it’s a free-for-all loot time.

  2. Geeta Padmanabhan (unregistered) on February 16th, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

    Hi CG, thanks for the shout. I do hope the plans never take off the drawing-board. Yes, the beach needs a bit of civil work. You know where? At a couple of places where the elderly get on to the promenade. The walkway, if you have noticed, is at least 10 inches above the ground. There could be gentle slopes for the elderly, those in wheelchairs, those who use crutches and women pushing strollers to get on. Most people don’t know it, but there is a law that says all public places must be accessible to all. And that law is 11 years old.

  3. Navaneethan Santhanam (unregistered) on February 17th, 2007 @ 1:36 am

    I’m vacillating on this issue. I love Elliot’s Beach, and have made it my 2nd home whenever I return to Chennai during college vacations. Right now, I think the beach is fine as is. I don’t know where the latest construction is going to take place, so if someone could help me out, maybe I could take a position, and perhaps help with this movement against the proposed construction.

    I do agree, though, that the pavement height can be reduced. Also, a fence of greenery around the beach would be nice.

  4. david (unregistered) on February 17th, 2007 @ 10:10 am

    I posted on the Corporations plans for Elliots Beach a while back on this blog after seeing the drawings and reading about it in the ET Madras +. What is being planned are facilities for many sections of the public to be able to use the beach, and the area near the road with with leisure and parking facilties. The actual stretch of sand and beach is largely untouched but for a ‘spine’, or paved athway flanked by foliage, leading down to the waters edge in the middle so that the elderly (unsteady on their feet), and the handicapped in wheel chairs can get to the waters edge. I thought it was done well, and in fact, added to the attraction of the beach rather than despoil it. As you know I am usually strongly against the so called ‘beautification’ done by our government whic usually consists of terraces or mounds with impossibly statues of buxom women pouring water out of pots! However, what I saw from the drawings were plans that would add to the attraction of the beach, without taking away from it. So I would suggest everyone take a good, close look at the plans before deciding whether its good or bad. For one, I think its necessary to provide those facilities as the city’s population grows and more people descend on the beach.

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