Glam not so glam­orous

An­other dis­pute arises fol­low­ing de­ci­sion to fill in Clarke’s Beach pond

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS THE COM­PASS

A sec­ond at­tempt to fill in much of a small pond known as The Glam in Clarke’s Beach again stirred up con­tro­versy last week af­ter a prop­erty dis­pute erupted be­tween two landown­ers, one of whom is the deputy mayor and the other is a prom­i­nent med­i­cal doc­tor in the re­gion.

And con­cerns con­tin­ued to be ex­pressed about the de­ci­sion to fill in the pond, with some say­ing it will in­crease the like­li­hood of flood­ing for some neigh­bour­hood homeowners.

The town coun­cil re­cently en­dorsed a plan to fill in a por­tion of the ten­nis court-sized pond ad­ja­cent to the mu­nic­i­pal build­ing in order to make way for an ex­pan­sion to the pub­lic works build­ing, and cre­ate ad­di­tional park­ing. The town has set aside some $10,000 for the earth work, said one town of­fi­cial.

A sim­i­lar un­der­tak­ing in 2010 was abruptly halted af­ter provin­cial en­vi­ron­ment of­fi­cials in­ter­vened fol­low­ing com­plaints from area res­i­dents. It turned out the town had not ac­quired the proper per­mits.

The town has since com­pleted the nec­es­sary pa­per­work, of­fi­cials have stated.

Coun­cil voted to hire a local con­tract­ing com­pany to haul earth to the site at its June 11 meet­ing. Coun­cil also agreed to ac­cept a sug­ges­tion from Deputy Mayor Kevin Hussey that the fill be taken — free-of-charge — from what he claimed was a bank of earth on his prop­erty, which is lo­cated a short dis­tance away at the end of Wil­sonville Av­enue.

Work be­gan on Wed­nes­day, and by Thurs­day, much of the fill — some say more than 150 tan­dem truck loads — had been trans­ported to the pond.

But a dis­pute has since flared be­tween Hussey and an­other landowner, Dr. Robert Hum­ber, over prop­erty bound­aries. The RCMP was called to the scene on Thurs­day af­ter Hum­ber showed up, car­ry­ing doc­u­ments he says proves he owns much of the prop­erty and all of the fill taken from the site.

Hussey sold some of the land to Hum­ber last summer, and Hum­ber had plans to build a house on the site.

When con­tacted on Fri­day, Hussey said he “wasn’t look­ing for a racket with any­body,” and sug­gested the land dis­pute would ei­ther be set­tle am­i­ca­bly or make its way to the court sys­tem.

“I just hope there’s a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion to this,” he said, adding that all of the fill taken was on his land.

For his part, Dr. Hum­ber was ex­press­ing dis- be­lief and anger when reached by The Com­pass. He ac­cused Hussey and the con­tract­ing com­pany of “des­e­crat­ing” his land, and vowed to take what­ever mea­sures are nec­es­sary to rec­tify the sit­u­a­tion.

Mean­while, Amanda Ralph, who lives on Wil­sonville Av­enue and is a mem­ber of the town’s re­cre­ation com­mis­sion, op­poses the de­ci­sion to fill in the pond. She said it has served as an over­flow dur­ing spring run-off, and she said some fear the wa­ter will have “nowhere to go” once The Glam is filled in.

As Ralph voiced her con­cerns on Thurs­day, steam rose from the freshly dis­turbed pond, car­ry­ing an un­pleas­ant stench. Two ducks could also be seen feed­ing in the wa­ter.

Hussey down­played any flood­ing con­cerns, say­ing that proper ditch­ing will be car­ried out.

In the past, Mayor Betty Moore and Hussey have voted against mo­tions to fill in The Glam. Hussey said once a de­ci­sion by a ma­jor­ity of coun­cil is made, he has to abide by that de­ci­sion.

Some have sug­gested that by do­nat­ing the fill to the town, Hussey was im­prov­ing the value of his land. That’s why, Hussey said, he was care­ful to ex­cuse him­self from any de­bate or vot­ing on the mat­ter.

“I just gave it away to get it off my prop­erty,” Hussey said of the fill.

He also ex­pressed con­cern that some­one might get hurt.

“There were chil­dren fly­ing over that bank on their bikes,” he added.

Mayor Moore, when con­tacted, con­tin­ued to ex­press con­cerns about fill­ing in the pond, say­ing “I never re­ally wanted that.”

edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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