Path in­ter­rupted

Landowner says bot­tom line, it’s pri­vate prop­erty

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE smont­gomery@cb­post.com

Glace Bay man says ditch across path is for safety.

A Glace Bay man says he doesn’t have any prob­lem with his neigh­bour, sim­ply safety con­cerns about a hole his neigh­bour dug.

“I just feel I have a moral obli­ga­tion to warn the public the hole is there,” Pat Reid said.

“Kids go fly­ing down this path on four-wheel­ers. If they were to hit that hole, they’d be over that bank and gone.”

Reid, of Black­ett Street, said there’s a path along the cliff at the ocean that ex­tends from the Min­ers’ Mu­seum to Glace Bay har­bour.

“It’s been used by peo­ple for walk­ing for the past 35 to 40 years.”

He said ocean front prop­erty on Black­ett Street for­merly owned by Devco, was later de­vel­oped into lots and sold by the for­mer En­ter­prise Cape Bre­ton Corp.

He said af­ter check­ing out an ex­ca­va­tor work­ing close to the cliff ’s edge, he dis­cov­ered a huge ditch was dug across the path to the edge of the bank, block­ing ac­cess.

“Young boys and girls, teenagers, and adults have been driv­ing ATVs and bi­cy­cles along there since we built our home on the street in 1983.”

Reid said the owner ap­par­ently is up­set with ATVs go­ing through there and he un­der­stands that.

“I’m not dis­agree­ing with him pro­tect­ing his prop­erty, he’s got my sup­port on that. I can see why he wouldn’t want traf­fic.”

How­ever Reid feels the public should be warned about the ditch now on this trail.

“Go­ing over that bank would likely cause a death, and if not, cer­tainly se­ri­ous in­jury. I am hop­ing that peo­ple read this and alert peo­ple who walk or drive along there to be care­ful.”

The owner of the land, who wished not to be iden­ti­fied, con­firmed he had a ditch built on his prop­erty, to se­cure his land from tres­pass­ing.

“Re­gard­less if they drove over your front lawn, or walked over your front lawn, it’s the very same thing. It’s no dif­fer­ent from any other pri­vate prop­erty any­where.”

He said peo­ple walk too close to the edge of the 50 foot cliff; he has seen chil­dren as young as eight or nine years old tear­ing down the path in ATVs.

“Chil­dren shouldn’t even been near those cliffs and they are tear- ing down there at hor­ren­dous speeds,” he said.

“The top lip ex­tends over noth­ing - it’s a void, brought in by nat­u­ral air and sea forces. I don’t go near the edge - it’s dan­ger­ous.”

The owner built his home there three years ago and was cap­ti­vated by the view.

“There was noth­ing but my car and a flat piece of dirt. I looked out and thought, ‘ This is what I wanted to see.” He said he pur­chased his piece from the for­mer ECBC, ‘right down to the wa­ter.’

“Our eastern bound­ary is called ‘the high wa­ter mark. We ac­tu­ally own to the wa­ter, which in­cludes the cliffs and ev­ery­thing.”

He said there has been years of is­sues, not only ATVs, but dur­ing Glace Bay fire works fes­tiv­i­ties, there is a ‘steady stream of cars and trucks driv­ing down there.

“At the point the prop­erty was pur­chased, no one had a right to be any­where near it, re­gard­less that it had been abused by the public when owned by Devco. I’ve se­cured it as pri­vate prop­erty which is my to­tal right. I don’t want to see peo­ple and if they’re there, they are there il­le­gally.”

On Thurs­day the landowner put ‘pri­vate prop­erty’ signs by the ditch.

“It’s about re­spect. Any­one who puts their foot on any part of that path does not re­spect pri­vate prop­erty.”

He said his lawn ex­tends be­hind the house but be­yond that they’ve kept it as a wild­ness area on pur­pose. Dist. 9 Coun. Ge­orge Mac­Don­ald said he has re­ceived calls of con­cern re­gard­ing the ditch from res­i­dents.

“There was a walk­way there peo­ple used for years. Their con­cern is they can’t use it any­more.”

He said the landowner has had is­sues with ATVs and traf­fic for years.

“I think his con­cern was four­wheel­ers were us­ing it and last year he said there was even traf­fic down there, even trucks us­ing it.”

Mac­Don­ald said he checked with the proper sources and has con­firmed four or five res­i­dents there did pur­chase the land from the for­mer ECBC.

“I con­firmed the home­owner in ques­tion here does own that land - it goes down right to the wa­ter.”

Mary Pat Mom­bour­quette, di­rec­tor of the Min­ers Mu­seum, said this path was how she would get to work daily, where she’d walk her dog.

“I can’t use that path any­more, it’s im­pass­able,” she said.

Mom­bour­quette said she re­al­izes ATVs were us­ing this path, which can cause ero­sion, how­ever she said the huge trenches would cause even more ero­sion. As well she has heard com­plaints at the mu­seum.

“Peo­ple who would come in the Men of the Deeps con­cert would like to go down and walk the back way and now they can’t. Amer­i­cans com­ing in thought it was fab­u­lous, now it just looks in­hos­pitable.”

SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Pat Reid of Black­ett Street, Glace Bay, stands near a ditch a home­owner built across a path that ex­tends across the landowner’s ocean front prop­erty, pre­vent­ing public ac­cess to the path. The path is on pri­vate prop­erty.

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