Measures will better protect environment, habitat
CHARLOTTETOWN – More protection is coming for Blooming Point.
Provincial wildlife officials said Tuesday growing use by the public has created problems with both conservation and public safety at the beach that is home to sand dunes, ponds and coastal forests.
Vehicles parked roadside create obstacles for emergency vehicles and damage sensitive vegetation, wildlife habitat and sand dunes.
In 2010, changes were made to improve public safety. A parking lot was created in a less-sensitive old field area, and no-parking zones were established for the roadside and adjacent habitats. Unfortunately, said Kate MacQuarrie, Director of Forests, Fish and Wildlife for the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, these efforts have not addressed the ongoing issues at this site.
“While most people are using the new lot, some are still parking roadside and in the dunes themselves,” said MacQuarrie. “This creates problems for emergency access and damages the natural area.”
Within the next few weeks, the province will be making changes to address these issues.
The road between the parking lot and the dunes will be narrowed to prevent parking but still allow access for emergency vehicles. Near the end of the road, a turnaround will be created to accommodate fire, ambulance and police vehicles; the turnaround can also be used by beach-goers and visitors to drop off passengers.
Parking will not be allowed in the turnaround, and violators may find their vehicles towed at the owner’s expense. On-site signage will make it clear what is and is not allowed. Both the Island Nature Trust and the East River Fire Department support the changes.
“The goal here is to balance public access and safety with conservation,” said MacQuarrie.
She said that there are several options for resolving the ongoing issues at Blooming Point, but narrowing the road was selected as having the most benefits for people and the natural area. If problems persist, other options – including
closing the road altogether for all traffic other than emergency vehicles – may be considered.