A 74-YEAR-old handyman has been working tirelessly by himself to clear a “roadblock” of sand for cyclists and dog walkers.

Once a week, great-grandfather George Tod spends hours with a shovel removing built-up sand along a one-kilometre length of Kinmel Bay promenade.

The promenade is marked as a designated cycle path. It is a hotspot for walkers, as well as people with prams and mobility scooters, for recreational use as well as providing access to the Asda supermarket on St Asaph Avenue.

Mr Tod, a semi-retired former computer engineer and St Asaph hotelier, who now works three days a week at a dementia home, said: “It’s a problem every year.

“The sand blows onto the prom for miles, but with the bad weather we’ve had recently it has got much worse.

“I was taking my 20-month-old grand-daughter out on her tricycle at the start of the year. The sand build-up was like a roadblock that was so bad I had to drag her backwards through it.

“I’ve also often seen cyclists falling off their bikes and people on mobility scooters getting stuck.

“I probably spent between six and eight hours the first time and in a good week it only takes a couple of hours, but sometimes it’s like a desert storm has hit the front.”

Rhyl Journal:

Mr Tod’s efforts have attracted the attention of Kinmel Bay residents who are calling on Conwy County Borough Council to step in and help ease the load.

Jennifer Cross, who frequently uses the promenade, said: “I think what he is doing should be recognised. I take my daughter down on the prom in the pram and we often can’t get through because the sand is piled three feet high, particularly near ASDA.

“It’s not just me, there are a lot of people on mobility scooters who should be able to enjoy the nice coastline.

“Surely Mr Tod shouldn’t be doing this all by himself at 74. The county council really should be helping him out. We pay our rates like everybody else but like so many issues here it’s just forgotten about.”

Rhyl Journal:

Cyclist Paul Stevens said: “I can’t thank him enough for clearing the path but I would prefer to see the council doing it because it’s not his job really.”

Calls for the council – which clears the path annually before the holiday season with heavy moving equipment - have been echoed by members of Towyn and Kinmel Bay Town Council.

The issue has come up for debate at a recent town council meeting on March enviromental committee, which resolved the clerk would request a site meeting – which has since been confirmed for April 10 - to discuss the sand clearance arrangements.

Town and county councillor Barry Griffiths, who is also a senior flood warden, said: “Kinmel Bay resident George Todd has done a fantastic job moving heavy, wet sand for weeks to clear a path through sand in the Kinmel Bay prom.

Rhyl Journal:

Cyclist Paul Stevens thanks George Tod for clearing the path which he uses every day. Picture: Geoff Abbott GA250319G

“The prom between Sandy Cove and the river footbridge to Rhyl is in continuous frequent use, cyclists, walkers, mobility scooters, and obviously the sand is a serious block, safety risk and loss of amenity.

“I and other councillors have brought this to CCBC attention but the County face budgetary restrictions and my latest information is that the sand will be removed around Easter time.

“As senior flood warden for Kinmel Bay I am also concerned, beyond amenity, about the role of the prom in community flood resilience, in the event of a storm surge - as we have occasionally when high tides meet on-shore wind and low pressure - then the prom captures overtopping sea water between the inner and outer walls and flows this away from the residential area.

“If it is full of sand, the water simply cannot drain away.”

A spokesperson for CCBC said: “All sand clearance is planned for completion prior to the Easter holidays. There is no negative impact on flood defences and the sand will be returned to the beach.”

Mr Tod responded: “I’m not one for complaining, and I believe that if you want a job doing right you should do it yourself, but it would be nice if the council could send a small digger whenever the weather is bad and clear a path that would take me hours – and probably do a better job.