ROCKY START TO BEACH SEA­SON

Res­i­dents up­set about dam­age, rocks on Bor­den-Car­leton beach by Mar­itime Elec­tric power cable project

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MIL­LI­CENT MCKAY mil­li­cent.mckay@jour­nal­pi­oneer.com

Res­i­dents up­set about dam­age, rocks on Bor­den-Car­leton beach by Mar­itime Elec­tric power cable project

For Lau­rel Palmer-Thomp­son and many other Bor­den-Car­leton res­i­dents, this sum­mer just won’t be the same.

“Our beach is cov­ered with boul­ders and big rocks. We can’t safely walk down to the shore from the bank like be­fore,” she said an­grily.

Last spring and sum­mer, Mar­itime Elec­tric be­gan its work on two sub­ma­rine ca­bles. It re­quired dig­ging up a por­tion of the beach. Then some­time dur­ing the win­ter, the large rocks were in­stalled.

Palmer-Thomp­son con­tends that by the time the work was com­plete on the ca­bles, it was sup­posed to be like they were never there.

When talks about the project be­gan, public meet­ings were held for town res­i­dents to ask ques­tions and voice con­cerns.

“Our main con­cern was, where the cable met land, is be­hind a res­i­den­tial area. The area we’re talk­ing about is called ‘the cave.’ We let them know we weren’t happy about the project, but we were will­ing to work with them to make sure the res­i­dents’ needs were met, with very lit­tle im­pact, and that they were able to com­plete their project.

“At one of the meet­ings I said that if they were go­ing to be work­ing on our beach, there needed to be a signed de­vel­op­ment agree­ment be­tween the town and the com­pany. We en­tered into that agree­ment in good faith.”

The agree­ment in­cluded al­low­ing res­i­dents to con­tinue to have a path to the shore, a set of sand­stone stairs and, when it was fin­ished, a six-foot cor­ri­dor filled in and the beach reinstated to look like they were never there.

What was sup­posed to hap­pen was the na­tive sand­stone that was re­moved dur­ing the

project, was to be re­placed by sand­stone, or a sim­i­lar na­tive rock, and the bank re­in­forced to pre­vent ero­sion, she said.

Palmer-Thomp­son added, in­stead, they brought in granite boul­ders that cov­ered the beach. Res­i­dents and tourists now have to scale the bank and the boul­ders to get to the shore.

“It’s not safe to walk on any­more be­cause the boul­ders shift un­der you. It’s not walk­a­ble and it’s in­ac­ces­si­ble.”

She also says the crew placed some of the boul­ders in the wa­ter area.

“If some­one were to go

through with a small craft like a sea-doo, kayak, or a speed boat, they would run the risk of hit­ting these rocks. So that’s a safety is­sue, too.”

Re­cently, Palmer-Thomp­son sat on a com­mit­tee do­ing a tourism study con­ducted in the town. She said the town couldn’t be a tourist des­ti­na­tion when res­i­dents can’t even ac­cess their shore.

“To ba­si­cally steam­roll over us for their gain is in­ex­cus­able. It has to be cleaned up. They’ve cre­ated this mess.”

John Palmer, a town res­i­dent, said the beach was a hid­den gem.

“What’s dis­ap­point­ing is the state they’ve left the beach in. Now I can’t take my eyes off my young son who has to climb to get to the beach.

“This was the only low-ly­ing area that gave us ac­cess to the beach.”

Bor­den-Car­leton Mayor Dean Sex­ton de­clined to com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion.

At­tempts to con­tact Kim Griffin, spokes­woman for Mar­itime Elec­tric, were un­suc­cess­ful. The Jour­nal Pi­o­neer was told she would be away from her of­fice un­til mid-July.

“It’s not safe to walk on any­more be­cause the boul­ders shift un­der you. It’s not walk­a­ble and it’s in­ac­ces­si­ble.” Lau­rel Palmer-Thomp­son

MIL­LI­CENT MCKAY/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Lau­rel Palmer-Thomp­son looks out at the wa­ter from the shore of a Bor­den-Car­leton beach. Palmer-Thomp­son and other town res­i­dents are an­gry about the dam­age and boul­ders placed there by Mar­itime Elec­tric while car­ry­ing out its cable project.

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