He had on a jacket usually worn by photo journalists, but he was holding a shovel, wielding it with obvious dexterity belying his true profession. A man who loves challenges, he believes in the hands on approach.
However for Wilfred Sam King hotelier and renowned business leader the challenges of beautifying the Lumley beach in front of his multimillion dollar Taia hotel will set him back an estimated one hundred million Leones (approx. US$ 30,000).
“The challenge here is we talk about beautification of the beach and that requires planting of trees that would provide shade and make the beach entirely a very comfortable place for everybody … but there is also an environmental dimension to all of this,” Sam-King said.
What used to be a big stretch of sand is gradually being eaten up by the ever hungry ocean. On several areas of the Lumley beach, evidence of the water eating into the sand structure and in some places reaching the tarmac road tell the story.
Whereas the beach used to slope gently into the sea, most places now have a drop of several feet which at some points is the height of a full grown man. Infact right in front of Sam King’s Taia hotel the sea face has eaten up the sand creating a drop taller than the man himself – although he cannot boast of being a tall man himself.
This has posed a serious challenge to him as a commercial operator on the beach front pitching a seemingly endless battle to retain the sand on his frontage for the pleasure of his guests who might fancy sitting under brightly coloured beach umbrellas while they playfully kick the hot sand with their bare foot.
Almost like a lecturer to his student Sam-King pointed out “you cannot understand until you see even the very road that is going right across Lumley is now threatened because if you look at the roadside you could see the erosion taking place and leaving entirely the tarmac undermined and if this process continues for over a period of say five to ten years the sea is going to take its toll and definitely it’s going to affect this entire place.”