Coun­cil to take le­gal ac­tion

Clarke’s Beach coun­cil says park owner fail­ing to com­ply with terms

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRYROBERTS THE COM­PASS

A frus­trated Clarke’s Beach town coun­cil voted 4-1 last week to pro­ceed with le­gal ac­tion against the owner of a con­tro­ver­sial RV park, ar­gu­ing that Ernie Mug­ford has failed to live up to the terms of an ex­pan­sion that took place in 2011.

Moun­tain­View Trailer Park has been at the cen­tre of an on­go­ing and some­times nasty dis­pute be­tween Mug­ford and some res­i­dents of Park Av­enue, which bor­ders the camp­ground.

Mem­bers of coun­cil have as­serted that Mug­ford has not in­stalled a suit­able buf­fer along Park Av­enue, and that he has not acted on re­peated at­tempts by the town to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion.

Coun­cil­lors used words such as “sad” and “un­sightly” to de­scribe the buf­fer, with Coun. Garry Ben­dell ex­press­ing “sym­pa­thy” for res­i­dents of Park Av­enue.

“We have only one re­course,” added Coun. Roland An­drews.

“The le­gal route is the only one I see that is left,” noted Mayor Betty Moore.

Ac­cord­ing to the ap­proval granted by coun­cil, the park owner is re­quired to cre­ate a buf­fer “not less than 10 me­tres depth lo­cated on the prop­erty and planted with trees and shrubs of suf­fi­cient height and den­sity, ap­proved by the town, to be vis­ually ef­fec­tive in screening the de­vel­op­ment from neigh­bour­ing res­i­dents and/or … a pri­vacy fence at least 2.4 me­tres in height … ”

Ben­dell said the cur­rent buf­fer is “not even close” to what coun­cil re­quires, and that Mug­ford has missed dead­lines to have the work com­pleted.

The only dis­sent­ing voice was Coun. El­don Snow, who ar­gued that coun­cil is ex­pect­ing too much. Snow also crit­i­cized his fel­low coun­cil­lors for re­fus­ing to grant Mug­ford an op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress coun­cil.

How­ever, Mayor Moore said un­less Mug­ford has a “new is­sue,” he will not be al­lowed to speak.

At­tempts to contact Mug­ford on Fri­day were un­suc­cess­ful.

Tense meet­ing

The mat­ter was one of sev­eral con­tentious is­sues dis­cussed by coun­cil dur­ing what was an­other tense and ac­ri­mo­nious meet­ing on Mon­day, Sept. 10.

A re­cent de­ci­sion by coun­cil to pur­chase land on the water­front also fu­elled some de­bate. The land is lo­cated on the water­front, ad­ja­cent to the ceno­taph and across the street from the mu­nic­i­pal build­ing.

Coun­cil voted 5-0 dur­ing a hastily called meet­ing on Mon­day, Aug. 6 — the town’s civic hol­i­day — to ap­prove the spend­ing of $40,000 for the pur­chase of the prop­erty. One of the ideas floated by coun­cil is to re­lo­cate the old rail­way sta­tion build­ing to the site and con­vert it into a mu­seum

The de­ci­sion has sparked some de­bate in the town, with a hand­ful of res­i­dents at­tend­ing last week’s meet­ing ex­press­ing con­cern. Mayor Moore and Coun. David Moore Jr. have also spo­ken out against the pur­chase.

Sev­eral out­stand­ing is­sues are now be­ing ad­dressed by the town’s le­gal coun­sel, and the pur­chase could be for­mal­ized dur­ing the next coun­cil meet­ing.

Glam in­fill­ing

The on­go­ing dis­pute be­tween a high-pro­file prop­erty owner and the town also re­mains un­re­solved, with coun­cil fail­ing to reach a con­sen­sus on whether to al­low Robert Hum­ber, a med­i­cal doc­tor, to ad­dress the group.

Hum­ber is ac­cus­ing the town of il­le­gally re­mov­ing fill that be­longed to him in or­der to fill in The Glam, a small pond ad­ja­cent to the town’s pub­lic works build­ing.

In an un­usual turn-of-events, an RCMP of­fi­cer look­ing into the file re­quested that coun­cil con­sider a meet­ing with Hum­ber. But with the threat of le­gal ac­tion hang­ing over the whole dis­pute, some coun­cil­lors felt a meet­ing would be un­wise.

Hum­ber has, on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, asked for a meet­ing with coun­cil.

Coun­cil­lors are split on the is­sue, with some say­ing they should “sit and lis­ten,” while oth­ers sug­gest the town should seek its own le­gal ad­vice.

Mean­while, coun­cil ap­proved the spend­ing of up to $2,000 for the pur­chase of ad­di­tional fill to level off “soft spots” in The Glam, fur­ther ex­ceed­ing the $10,000 orig­i­nally bud­get­ted for the project.

Sev­eral hun­dred loads of earth have been dumped at the site.

A va­ri­ety of other is­sues were also de­bated, in­clud­ing po­ten­tial flood­ing prob­lems, an­i­mal con­trol, im­prove­ments to the ceno­taph, air qual­ity in the town hall, prop­erty as­sess­ments, and the fu­ture of the Win­ter Home, which is a reg­is­tered her­itage stru­cure.

Deputy Mayor Kevin Hussey and Coun. David Moore Jr. were not present at the meet­ing.

ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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