The province is looking to reach an “amicable and timely solution’’ with a property owner who has created a major stir by installing a steel locked gate that blocks access to a beach in eastern P.E.I.
Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Paula Biggar said she is aware of public concern over a gate installed by a private property owner along the traveled way at the eastern end of the Bruce Point Road to a shore area in Launching.
“There is a long history of use of this road by members of the public,’’ Biggar said in a statement sent to The Guardian.
“Government recognizes the need for access to the shore area. We continue to investigate to determine the boundary of the public road and we will be working with the property owner on an amicable and timely solution to the matter.’’
Scott MacNeill, a resident of Launching, said when he made people aware of the gate through a Facebook posting, reaction was fast and furious. Roughly 1,000 people shared his post.
He said people are enraged with the property owners’ move to block access by erecting a gate.
He accused the property owners of trying to make a private beach by denying access to other people living along the road – and to the public in general.
“When I brought it to everybody’s attention, it went viral,’’ said MacNeill.
He believes the road blocks the only access to the beach and to Boughton Island.
“I want the rest of P.E.I. to be able to enjoy it,’’ he added.
“It’s the only tourist draw we have (in the area).’’
MacNeill said he is impressed with the quick response from Biggar, who called him one day after his posting went up on Facebook Saturday.
“She said she is on it,’’ he said.
MacNeill said the steel gate was installed in November. When he confronted the property owners about the gate, they threatened to call the police if he did not leave.
“These people have been trying to kick people off the beach for years and now have put a gate on the road and right-of-way access,’’ he said.
He believes the owners rent the property all summer and occupy the residence in the spring and fall.