Re-opening the O’Connor Point beach in Shuniah Township is proving to be more costly than expected for the municipality.
Township clerk Nadine Hunley said the $120,000 spent so far covers legal costs from the ongoing dispute with nearby property owners, and modifications to the beach.
Hunley said it also includes the projected cost for security that's required by an agreement with neighbours.
The municipality will use tax dollars to operate the beach.
“We always have a contingency for unforeseen things that come up,” she said.
“Everything from floods to whatever … council is very responsible and very good at managing the finances of the municipality.”
Hunley noted the cost could continue to go up, if court proceedings over the beach continue this winter.
Beach users must get access card
The increase is significant so far, as the Shuniah paid slightly more than $75,000 in 2013, which included last year's legal bills and security.
The expenses in 2014 have risen in part from the cost of a $14,000 fence that was required to be installed, as well as additional security costs.
The cost to run the beach, which will close Sept. 15, is expected to be reviewed by the municipality when the season is over.
As for the ongoing legal dispute with area neighbours, December is the next date for Shuniah’s appeal of a judge’s decision last September that barred anybody — including municipal workers — from going on the site.
The municipality later forged an interim agreement with property owners to open the beach, but can still appeal the original decision.
The conditions under which the beach can be open are strict, and most involve security and set hours, Hunley said.
Anyone wanting to use the beach has to get an access card from the Shuniah Office first, and only residents and landowners can ask for one. They are allowed to bring guests, however.
Only 20 people are allowed at the beach at one time.