Dump­ing glass on beach?

“Don’t let the opin­ions of a few dis­cour­age you from speak­ing up when you see some­thing wrong.”

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - BY MARIE FITZ­PATRICK Marie Fitz­patrick is a long­time res­i­dent of Souris who likes to walk on the beach.

As a res­i­dent of the Town of Souris for over 50 years, I was em­bar­rassed and shocked by the way that Mike MacDonald was treated. I agree with Mike MacDonald’s as­sess­ment: “It’s so scary. The mayor should be ad­vo­cat­ing for his con­stituents, that if there is an is­sue with the park they take care of it rather than at­tack the per­son who is rais­ing the is­sue.’’

The Town of Souris should be proud of “these come-fro­m­away kids” and the fact that they are re­turn­ing to P.E.I. They of­fer a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive and have ideas that may work.

Mike is cor­rect: “If you walk down on the beach, there is a crazy amount of bro­ken bot­tles, shards that can lit­er­ally go through your foot. It’s ter­ri­ble. It is re­ally fright­en­ing.”

The ex-mayor said the town has been do­ing what it can to clean up the beach. The only ef­fort that I see the town mak­ing is an an­nual one-day cleanup, the oc­ca­sional re­moval of a dead seal, grass cut­ting and garbage re­moval around the shops. I don’t think the ex-mayor, coun­cil­lors or staff have ever gone for a walk on this beach.

I can­not be­lieve that the ex-mayor claimed to be con­cerned about the en­vi­ron­ment. I as­sume it is the town that gave ap­proval of per­mits for the new build­ings — less than 20 feet from the beach. I’m sure as a res­i­dent, I would not be al­lowed to put a build­ing in a sand dune less than 20 feet from the shore. I used to walk Souris beach al­most daily from April to Oc­to­ber and I was also frus­trated by the amounts of sharp glass. Dur­ing the spring/sum­mer, I would try to pick up a bag or two of the larger pieces of sharp glass and de­posit them in my own garbage. I would com­plain and all that ever got done is the one-day an­nual cleanup.

This year, I have pretty much given up on pick­ing up the sharp glass. I now choose to walk my dogs else­where and if I had young chil­dren I wouldn’t let them play in the sand or walk near the wa­ter at high tide. I be­lieve that Pa­tri­cia O’Brien is incorrect about the source of the sharp glass be­ing an old dump. The sharp glass is too large and would surely have been bro­ken over the years of be­ing tossed by the sea. The shards in­clude bot­toms of bot­tles, plates, and look quite new. These pieces do not end up in ar­eas sur­round­ing Colville Bay. They do not even land on the sand­bars when the tide is low. Only on cer­tain parts of the beach do these large pieces of glass show up - prac­ti­cally in a straight line.

As some­one who fre­quents this beach, I sus­pect that some­one is dump­ing the sharp glass on the beach dur­ing their walks. A few years ago, Souris Beach be­came an at­trac­tive place to pick sea glass. Prior to the ex­plo­sion of sea glass pick­ers, you would sel­dom find large pieces of sharp glass on the beach.

I have tried to dis­cour­age the dump­ing by telling a few of the reg­u­lar sea glass pick­ers that I was set­ting up a web cam with the in­ten­tion of catch­ing who was drop­ping sharp glass. It seemed to work for a short time, as there was a de­cline in the level of sharp glass.

Mike was le­git­i­mately very up­set with the lack of ef­fort that the town staff was mak­ing to clean up the glass on Souris Beach. It sounded like Mike was not con­cerned for him­self, as much as he was for the gen­eral pub­lic that goes to the beach.

As a res­i­dent of Souris, I would like to thank Mike MacDonald for show­ing con­cern about this haz­ardous sit­u­a­tion. I would also like to apol­o­gize to him for the ac­tions of the town staff and ex-mayor. I am one res­i­dent that hopes he con­tin­ues to come home and en­joy his va­ca­tions.

Don’t let the opin­ions of a few dis­cour­age you from speak­ing up when you see some­thing wrong.


Mike MacDonald, a for­mer res­i­dent of Souris, was home vis­it­ing re­cently, when he started ob­serv­ing bro­ken glass all over Souris Beach. He in­vited The Guardian for a walk along the beach to show some of what he found.

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