Construction work on a sensitive beach in Witless Bay has been halted because of an appeal and lack of permits. That was the word Monday from the provincial governmetn after residents were up in arms when excavation work started on Ragged Beach last week.

“The Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment strives to ensure that residents live in safe and sustainable communities and are served by open, effective and accountable local governments,” the department said in a statement. “Over the past week, officials have been in communication with the Town of Witless Bay regarding work that it recently undertook at Ragged Beach. The department is working with the town to ensure it is aware of its responsibilities under municipal and related environmental legislation.

“On July 31, 2019, the Water Resources Management Division received to a complaint of infilling in the area of Ragged Beach. Officials advised the town to stop the activity and that a permit to alter a body of water was required for work within 15 metres of the high ocean water mark. The division followed up with the town on August 2, 2019, to reiterate the necessity of a permit under the Water Resources Act. The town indicated its intention to submit an application. The department will begin its review of the request upon receipt of a permit application.

“In addition to the Water Resources Act permit issue, work is also currently halted on the project as an appeal of the Town of Witless Bay’s decision to undertake the work was made to the Eastern Regional Appeal Board by a third-party appellant on July 29, 2019; as per the Urban and Rural Planning Act, 2000 work cannot proceed until the Board issues a decision in the matter.”

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