‘Friends’ reclaim and beautify the Sturgeon Falls beach

Some of the Friends of the Sturgeon Falls Beach take a break from their hard work for a photo on August 17. From left: Paul Paiement, Theresa Fredette, Suzanne Louiseize, Prima Berry and Dan Roveda.

After years of neglect and vandalism, the formerly derelict Sturgeon Falls Beach, at the north end of Main Street on the Sturgeon River, is now attracting swimmers and families again thanks to the efforts of local volunteers.

Every Tuesday, a dedicated group of friends come together to beautify the Sturgeon Falls beach. These “Friends of the Sturgeon Falls Beach” have been at it for the last three years. The Tribune joined them on August 17 to hear about their efforts and challenges.

Theresa Fredette has been leading the group’s efforts to reclaim the beach. When asked about how it all started, she said, “Oh it was my mouth, I complained, and they told me ‘put your money where your mouth is,’” she laughs.

“I was walking my dog one day and then I saw (WN Councillor) Dan Roveda and said, ‘What the heck happened to the beach?’ He just basically said: ‘Well no one is taking care of it – do something, maybe if you could organize a little group if you care that much about it.’ So, I reached out and that’s when all these wonderful people joined in.”

At that time, the group explains that people couldn’t enjoy the beach: an old dock with broken planks was still there, some people drove right up to the shore with their cars, some drove around with their ATVs, and others even used it as a boat launch. There was often broken glass in the sand, garbage strewn around and graffiti on nearby structures.

The friends, who meet from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. each Tuesday during the summer, spent the first two summers tackling the weeds and grass overgrowth and tidying up the area from debris and litter. “It was only maybe six feet wide when we started, so we started off weeding the edges, trying to make it wider,” recounts Fredette. 

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