Lifeguards could return to Treasure Shores Beach – temporarily

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Starting Oct. 1, no lifeguards will be standing watch over Treasure Shores Beach.

But when the county’s beach renourishment project gets underway again, that could change.

Golden Sands Beach, which is about a mile down the road from Treasure Shores, will be closed for a period of time either later this year or early next for the replenishment project. The closure, like that of Wabasso and other beaches earlier this year, will displace lifeguards.

Beaches and Shores Committee member David Barney asked at Monday’s meeting whether the guards assigned to Golden Sands could be relocated to Treasure Shores when their beach shuts down for the work.

“It’s a welcome suggestion,” Assistant County Administrator Mike Zito said, adding that county staff had not thought that far out yet.

On the surface, it would seem that transferring the guards from one beach to another would be a fairly simple task.

However, Zito said, the county would have to work with the Teamsters Union, which oversees the lifeguards, and review any legal implications.

Zito said he wasn’t sure if there would be any legal issues from posting Treasure Shores as an unguarded beach and then assigning guards to it – even just temporarily.

Commissioners approved their budget earlier this month, which did not include funds for the two lifeguards at Treasure Shores Beach.

The beach is the northernmost in the county and had heavy public support to retain its lifeguards.

A petition drive secured more than 3,000 signatures in favor of keeping the guards, and the Sebastian City Council passed a resolution asking the County Commission to spare the guards.

County Commission Chairman Peter O’Bryan and Commissioner Joe Flescher voted to keep the guards, while Commissioners Wesley Davis, Bob Solari and Gary Wheeler voted against.

O’Bryan, the commission liaison to the Beaches and Shores Committee, told the committee that all they can do now is to keep their fingers crossed that nothing bad happens at Treasure Shores.

Zito said after the meeting that a determination on whether Golden Sands’ guards could move to Treasure Shores won’t come until the county sets out a timeline for the beach renourishment project.

That project could get started before the end of the year, after turtle nesting season.

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