MLA wants bridge debris cleaned up from Borden-Carleton beach

A P.E.I. MLA says the beaches surrounding the abandoned fabrication yard in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., used to build the Confederation Bridge need to be cleaned up after erosion has exposed leftover industrial waste.

PC MLA Jamie Fox says debris from construction of the Confederation Bridge is a hazard

MLA Jamie Fox says residents in the area have discovered debris emerging from the bank surrounding the abandoned bridge fabrication yard in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I. (Jamie Fox)

A P.E.I. MLA says the beaches surrounding the abandoned fabrication yard in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., used to build the Confederation Bridge need to be cleaned up after erosion has exposed leftover industrial waste.

"This industrial waste, concrete, rebar, gravel, is falling down onto the beach, which is also affecting the clam bed in that shore," said Borden-Kinkora MLA Jamie Fox.

Fox said before the erosion started happening, there was already waste sitting on the beach from when the bridge was constructed in 1997.

"It needs to be cleaned up," he said.

Undeveloped since construction

Strait Crossing originally purchased the land to build components of the Confederation Bridge during construction, but the province bought the land in 2009 for just over $350,000, and the area has remained undeveloped, despite several attempts to restore the property, including the removal of the giant concrete pillars that are on the site. 

Fox said he'd like the province or Strait Crossing to clean up the area before potentially more industrial waste is revealed.

"I'm worried ... the environment is something that I take very seriously," he said.

'Time to clean up'

Borden-Carleton resident Laurel Palmer Thompson said the shoreline along the fabrication yard is an important area for residents and tourists who spend time on the beach.

"It's just a nice area of our town. We have great views of the bridge and water views," she said.

Local resident Laurel Palmer Thompson says debris like this concrete slab has been on the Borden-Carleton shoreline for several years. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Thompson said she's noticed pieces of industrial waste sitting on the beach for several years.

"It's probably time to clean up those areas ... so that we have a pristine beach," Palmer Thompson said.

Strait Crossing responds 

In the original contract for construction on the Confederation Bridge, Strait Crossing agreed to return the site to its original state.

Company general manager Michel Le Chasseur said the beach is no longer their responsibility since the province now owns the land.

"When we sold it to the province at the time we transferred that responsibility," he said. "They're the owners. It's up to the province to decide what they're going to do with it."

Le Chasseur added that he's not aware of any debris from the bridge surrounding the fabrication yard, but will likely investigate the area in the coming week.

Province waiting for formal request

During Friday's question period, Fox asked the government when the beach would be cleaned up.

Economic Development Minister Heath MacDonald said he had not been briefed on the issue, but that his department is in regular contact with the mayor and council of Borden-Carleton.

"If we get a formal request from the town of Borden-Carleton, we would certainly go out and take a look at it, in compliance with the other departments that would be involved in this process," MacDonald said.

About the Author

Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams is a video journalist with CBC P.E.I. She previously worked as an associate producer with CBC News in Toronto.