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Charlottetown residents frustrated with lack of enforcement after developer clearcuts buffer zone

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Residents of a Charlottetown neighbourhood are annoyed after the buffer zone of a waterfront property was destroyed with out penalty.

Sjors Reijers, a Brighton resident dwelling on Colonel Grey Drive, mentioned neighbours of a waterfront property that’s being developed are involved about erosion and structural decay after its new house owners clear reduce its 15-metre buffer zone.

Reijers mentioned in August, the small property situated behind 1 Colonel Grey Dr. was bought by a developer. Because the lot is on the shoreline, it had a buffer zone stuffed with bushes, bushes and grass.

Nonetheless, a number of weeks after the sale, Reijers mentioned staff confirmed up with excavators and chainsaws and clear reduce the lot, leaving solely an outdated cabin that had been there for over 30 years.

“We known as conservation to come back have a look. They got here and the Division of Atmosphere got here, however to our information no cease order was issued, and no superb was given so far as we all know for clear slicing contained in the buffer zone,” he mentioned.

Reijers mentioned he wasn’t positive if the builders of the property had a allow below the Environmental Safety Act to function within the zone.

Sjors Reijers, who lives next to the lot, said more strict enforcement is needed around whether or not work is permitted in buffer zones. Contributed
Sjors Reijers, who lives subsequent to the lot, mentioned extra strict enforcement is required round whether or not or not work is permitted in buffer zones. Contributed

SaltWire Community contacted the Division of Atmosphere, Power and Local weather Motion to see if a allow had been granted for work within the buffer zone on the property.

In an emailed assertion, a spokesperson for the division mentioned the EECA division was made conscious of the proposed work on the shoreline, and permission for the work was utilized for by means of the Licensed Contractor Program.

“(Nonetheless), a website inspection triggered an investigation by the Enforcement Department of Justice and Public Security. This investigation is ongoing,” the spokesperson mentioned.

The spokesperson mentioned when the division was initially known as out to the property, the contractor on-site voluntarily eliminated the gear and halted work, negating the necessity for a cease work order.

The spokesperson mentioned the province and the Metropolis of Charlottetown have since reviewed a draft website growth plan for the property, which was despatched again to the developer for revisions.

As for enforcement, fines have but to be laid, mentioned the spokesperson.

A Google Maps screenshot from 2015 shows the property behind 1 Colonel Gray Drive was filled with trees, bushes and grass before it was clear cut by its new owners in September 2022. Contributed
A Google Maps screenshot from 2015 exhibits the property behind 1 Colonel Grey Drive was stuffed with bushes, bushes and grass earlier than it was clear reduce by its new house owners in September 2022. Contributed

Widespread downside

Joanne MacKinnon, who lives throughout the road from the Colonel Grey Drive property, mentioned the issue of builders constructing alongside the shoreline is extra widespread than simply on their road.

“It is not even simply this location. There appears to be so many instances of individuals simply going forward and ignoring the environmental buffer zone guidelines for big developments,” she mentioned.

“If it is authorized, nice, extra energy to them. But it surely simply doesn’t really feel authorized what has occurred up to now.”

The Environmental Safety Act permits fines of $3,000 to $10,000 to be positioned on anybody doing unpermitted work inside shoreline buffer zones. Nonetheless, P.E.I.’s Atmosphere Minister Steven Myers, not too long ago introduced plans to boost the fines to $50,000. MacKinnon mentioned that change might assist deter some unhealthy actors.

“If the fines are enough that they’ll now not be written off as a price of doing enterprise, individuals will begin to assume twice,” she mentioned.

Joanne MacKinnon, who lives across the street from the property on Colonel Gray Dr., said increasing the fines tied to working within a buffer zone without a permit could help deter developers who would otherwise see the current fine as
Joanne MacKinnon, who lives throughout the road from the property on Colonel Grey Dr., mentioned rising the fines tied to working inside a buffer zone with out a allow might assist deter builders who would in any other case see the present superb as “the price of doing enterprise.” Cody McEachern

Nonetheless, Reijers mentioned having fines doesn’t do sufficient to maintain builders from ignoring the regulation.

“Rising the superb, positive, in case you are constructing your dream dwelling and also you wish to stay there, which may matter to you. However that is Brighton. You’re going to construct a 2,000-square-foot home and promote it for $1.8 million. Nobody goes to care in case you add an additional $50,000,” he mentioned.

Reijers mentioned if the province is actually frightened about environmental hazards and erosion, it must set a transparent boundary on whether or not growth is allowed to be carried out inside buffer zones.

“(The province) can say, ‘no you’ll be able to’t construct right here since you are contained in the buffer zone,’ which looks like the appropriate approach to do it,” he mentioned.

“A superb doesn’t make sense. Both you’ll be able to or you’ll be able to’t construct in a buffer zone. When you can construct in there, what is the level of a superb? When you can’t construct in there, implement laws saying you’ll be able to’t construct in there.”

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