Residents of Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., upset over damage, rocks on beach

They say it was all left behind following Maritime Electric power cable project

Published on July 10, 2017

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.

©Millicent McKay/Journal Pioneer

BORDEN-CARLETON, P.E.I. – 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.