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N.L. NDP calls for moratorium on Ragged Beach development in Witless Bay

People dropped by Ragged Beach in Witless Bay on a sunny Friday to enjoy the beach and its view of the bay, where whales were seen in abundance. An area of land near the beach is the subject of a controversial development proposal that started years of chaos at the town council in Witless Bay.
Ragged Beach in Witless Bay. - Glen Whiffen file photo/The Telegram

Caucus turns up to support local protestors opposed to development near the beach

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

The controversy surrounding development of Ragged Beach in Witless Bay hit the House of Assembly once again on Thursday. 

Those opposed to development on the beach held a protest on Thursday morning, halting trucks that are there to build an erosion wall on the beach to protect an existing parking lot, according to the minister.

The New Democrats sent their entire caucus to the beach on Thursday to support residents who have fought for years to prevent development in the area. 

NDP MHA Jim Dinn called on Municipal Affairs Minister Derrick Bragg to issue a moratorium on development on the beach.

"Ragged Beach is a key natural asset for the East Coast Trail and survival of the Witless Bay Bird Sanctuary, and those working to protect it have legitimate concerns about its preservation.

"They are not convinced government at the municipal and provincial levels have exercised due diligence,” Dinn said during question period. 

“I ask the premier, will his government put an immediate freeze on the destruction of Ragged Beach and bring in a mediator who can help resolve this situation that has the potential to destroy a natural jewel?”

Bragg did not heed the call for a moratorium. 

“I really understand the passion of (Dinn), but when we are issued and we go out and investigate and someone asks us for a permit, we send out our team. They would outline some criteria and some conditions outlined within the parameters of that permit and the work area described, as where we would allow or not allow construction,” he said. 

“We can't have a moratorium on everything that ever happens in this province. Unfortunately, sometimes it may not be what everybody feels it is, but in this case, the work that's being doing there, we feel confident is within the parameters of that permit. If someone feels and can prove otherwise, please bring that attention to our office.”

Residents who oppose development have promised to continue to pressure the government to halt development.

Twitter: @DavidMaherNL


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