CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island’s government is imposing a moratorium on new shoreline protection projects after a controversy over a large, rock breakwater built around a private, beachfront home.
Environment Minister Steven Myers says the moratorium introduced recently defines which projects are frozen until a new coastal zoning policy is created in collaboration with researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island.
A spokeswoman for the department said 75 permits are on hold while the new “short term” coastal zone policy is developed.
The moratorium permits certain projects approved by the province to go ahead, and it also allows repairs to “critical infrastructure” and erosion-control structures that were damaged in late September by post-tropical storm Fiona.
Myers says he imposed the moratorium in part because of public outcry over an imposing stone breakwater put up around a new home in the community of Point Deroche, about 30 kilometres northeast of the capital.
Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker said last fall the breakwater impedes people from walking along a pristine beach, calling the structure a “lightning rod that has channelled decades of growing discontent” over a lack of coastal management.
Myers says the home’s seawall doesn’t break the law because it was built over existing rock barriers. He says he’s being subjected to intense criticism because the moratorium holds up citizens’ plans to protect their land.
However, the minister says he’s proceeding because the province needs a wider coastal protection policy to ensure the Island is well placed to apply for the federal government’s $1.6-billion climate adaptation fund.
© 2023 The Canadian Press
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