UK & World News

  • 10 May 2014, 10:20

Malibu Beach: 'Botox' Plan Causes Uproar

Celebrity homeowners are involved in a battle with environmentalists over their plans to 'Botox' one of America's most iconic beaches.

Coastal erosion has stripped away almost all of the sand at Broad Beach in Malibu, a stretch of Californian coastline where the likes of Steven Spielberg and Dustin Hoffman own homes.

Residents want to spend millions of dollars of their own money to bring sand from elsewhere and replenish the beach, but regulators and environmentalists stand in their way.

The beach today is a shadow of the wide-open expanse of sand and dunes of forty years ago and erosion is now threatening some of the multi-million dollar homes.

Celebrity lawyer Marshall Grossman, just one of the Broad Beach residents pushing for the restoration, says private owners using their own money to restore a public beach should be welcomed.

Of critics, he told Sky News: "I would say 'Get a life'. We're trying to put sand on the beach, not wild animals, not condos and not fish and chip stands.

"It is going to bring an open beach to millions of people over a period of years, people who would not otherwise have access to it and it is going to be a resource for everybody to enjoy."

The residents have already spent almost half of their $20m (11.8m) fund on legal fees and have major regulatory hurdles to clear.

They have identified sand from a quarry in California and say even buying a few years of beach is worth the investment.

But opponents say short-term solutions risk damaging the natural environment and that residents should accept that they cannot "buy off" nature.

Bill Patzert, an oceanographer at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, told Sky News: "Broad Beach at high tide is what I call 'invisible beach', there is no beach.

"Even if you replenish the beach, three or four large storms will send that new sand right down the slope into Davy's Locker.

"In other words, it will disappear again and again and again."

Broad Beach is home to more than 100 properties.

Malibu, a 27-mile stretch of coastline north of Los Angeles, has been an iconic playground for the rich and famous for decades.

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