Building plans get flooded

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Andrew and Lisa Inderwick love P.E.I., and have so for the past dozen years. The Island’s natural beauty and the friendliness of their neighbours in Maximville have only solidified their position.

So it’s sad, then, that today, 12 years after purchasing two lots in the province’s Evangeline region, west of Summerside, the husband and wife from Ottawa now find themselves embroiled in a fight with the bureaucracy of the provincial government.

The couple wants to build on one of their properties, a property that 12 years ago was granted all the proper documents to allow for construction.

The Inderwicks say that when they purchased the land they followed all the rules, dotted all their ‘Is’ and crossed all their ‘Ts.’

But there they were last Thursday, in Charlottetown, for a hearing with the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) which will decide whether or not they can build.

Since initially granting the appropriate permits, the Inderwicks say, the province has deemed their land unsuitable for construction. Provincial officials now say the property is a wetland.

But nine years ago it wasn’t a wetland. Apparently a provincial inspector visited the property and checked off the ‘not a wetland box.’

But in 2009, when the Inderwicks decided to build, the troubles began. Those troubles have cost the family about $12,000 for property maintenance and legal council over the past several years.

They put fill in, and were told to take it back out. Imagine the frustration.

This is more than just a simple misunderstanding.

If the land wasn’t an official wetland in 2004, what changed to make it a wetland in 2009? Has there been a significant change or just a change in opinion? It seems plausible that it may now have some of the characteristics of a wetland, but it is clearly not an established, long-standing wetland area or it would have been so in 2004.

Don’t get us wrong, we believe wetlands ought to be protected; in fact, probably more rigorously than they currently are, but in this case the family ought to be allowed to build. This situation ought to be used as a learning example for all parties. The province should perhaps inspect a little more closely and stipulate a specific time period for their permits that clearly indicates that if an area becomes a wetland, which no doubt can happen (but not likely overnight), that the permits become void.

In this case the family should be allowed to build or be compensated for their losses.

 

Organizations: Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission

Geographic location: Summerside, Ottawa, Charlottetown

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