Backyard blasting in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's upsets resident

A well-known environmentalist living in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's says the town failed to notify residents of blasting and construction that started on Monday near his home.
Bill Montevecchi says he's lived in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's for 35 years, and is upset about blasting going on near his home that he wasn't made aware of. (CBC)

A well-known environmentalist living in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's has lost his bid to slow down a residential development near his home, amid claims that the town failed to notify residents of blasting and construction that  started on Monday.

Bill Montevecchi, who has studied wildlife biology in Newfoundland and Labrador for decades, said the town elected three years ago to do the construction to reduce a rocky knoll to a street-level residential lot as part of a development on Round Pond Road.

However, Montevecchi said no one notified him or his neighbours that construction was going to start.

Bill Montevecchi says blasting and construction has taken over the area near his home in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's. (CBC)
"Somehow, because the landscape is inconvenient for a developer who doesn't live in our community, they can do that to it. They can dynamite it and blast it away so he can put in another plastic house — that's what bothers me," he said.

"I'm not against development, but I'm against destroying the earth. I'm against this kind of assault, and this kind of attack on the landscape."

'Developments are in place'

Montevecchi won a meeting with the town on Tuesday night, but said after that the meeting changed nothing. 

"The discussion we had was, 'Well, we can't do anything about this development that's going on at Round Pond because all the developments are in place.' So, it's a little bit frustrating," Montevecchi told CBC News. 

Other neighbours in the area don't have a problem with the development, but Montevecchi said that's not the point, and council should have consulted better with the public.

Montevecchi said a previous town council chose to approve the development, and he has asked the town to cease the blasting until a proper public consultation can be done.

The town said it was too late, but Deputy Mayor Gavin Will said the town will work on coming up with a better process.

"We have discussed it amongst councillors. My feeling is that there's generally support for that," he said.