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P.E.I. government places moratorium on new shoreline buffer zone work

اخبارالعرب 24-كندا:الخميس 1 ديسمبر 2022 05:40 مساءً P.E.I.'s environment minister says the province is placing a moratorium that will mean no new development in buffer zones along the Island's fragile shorelines until a policy to protect them can be drafted and brought to the legislature.

Steven Myers made the announcement as the Prince Edward Island's legislature adjourned after its fall sitting, saying it would be done through a ministerial order that would be effective immediately.

"You won't be able to do shoreline protection or anything in the buffer zone that's brand new," he said, referring to the 15 metres immediately adjoining the ocean, a wetland or an inland body of water. 

"For people who already have shoreline protection they need to repair post-Fiona, that will not apply to them. For people who already have stairs or floating docks in the buffer zone, it will not apply to them. 

"It will just be anything new."

Myers said that starting Friday, he would sit down to start working on a policy to protect P.E.I.'s coastlines with experts including people from the UPEI School of Climate Change and Adaptation.

"That's what it's here for; that's where the expertise lies," he said.

A photo from a drone shows how the rock wall at the Point Deroche construction site withstood the impact of post-tropical storm Fiona while the beach around it was washed away. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

"I'm going to ask them to give us a policy that allows us to protect Prince Edward Island so it doesn't wash away in the next 100 years, so that it's here for our children and our grandchildren in the future," Myers added. 

"There's been too much political involvement, including my own involvement, up until now."

The move follows weeks of questions in the legislation about buffer zone work, especially a high-profile development at Point Deroche on Prince Edward Island's North Shore, east of Blooming Point.

The previous owner of the Point Deroche property had armoured the shoreline against erosion as well, but the stone didn't extend as far out onto the beach. (Coldwater Consulting)

A family from Toronto is building a summer home on the 6.8-hectare property. The work includes a huge rock wall that juts out into the ocean and blocks the way of people strolling along the beach. 

Myers said the province received 570 applications in 2021 from people wanting to do or contract work in buffer zones around the Island. 

He did not say how many of those applications were approved. 

The province has noted in the past few weeks that some companies have blanket approvals to undertake work in buffer zones and don't have to apply for each project.

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