A SECOND inquiry into Bournemouth’s controversial surf reef will try to find out why expectations of
its performance were downgraded.
The Boscombe reef is currently failing to meet four out of its 11 official criteria, prompting the council to withhold a £150,000 performance-based payment.
But councillors are concerned that these performance benchmarks have been significantly lowered since they first approved the idea of creating a reef at Boscombe.
At a special scrutiny meeting on Tuesday, July 13, councillors will quiz officers as to why and when this happened and who authorised it.
Council reports prepared for the meeting show the council agreed to pursue the creation of a double-sided surf reef wrapped around Boscombe Pier back in 2000.
A report by ASR said at the time: “With the reef in place at Bournemouth, a 2.0 to 2.2 times wave height enhancement is expected. This enhancement will increase the number of surfable days by a
factor of 2 to 3.”
Five years later, an initial design report by ASR said the company aimed to design a reef with a surfing difficulty ranking of four to five. The ideal ride length would be between 75 and 100m and
last between 12 and 15 seconds.
“The surfing reef is a low risk but technically innovative scheme,” ASR’s report concluded.
It was not until May this year that the council released the results of the reef’s first monitoring exercise, which showed the reef was under-performing.
The reef was measured against 11 performance targets, including an increase in wave height of 20 per cent, providing for rides of more than three seconds and matching the beach in terms of the
number of surfable days.